Paris brings back outdoor face mask rule and orders early closure of bars

Wearing face masks outdoors became compulsory again in Paris on Friday in a bid to slow the spread of the Omicron variant of Covid, while restrictions were also introduced for the New Year weekend.

A Paris municipal police officer wearing a face mask asks people to put on their masks
A Paris municipal police officer wearing a face mask asks people to put on their masks. (Photo by BERTRAND GUAY / AFP)

The mandate applied from Friday, December 31st, to everyone over the age of 11 except those inside vehicles, cyclists, users of two-wheeled transport like scooters and those doing sport, Paris police HQ said in a statement.

Police justified the measure saying “people intermingle in Paris constantly and gatherings or crowds are numerous”.

Patrols would be stepped up in busy areas to enforce the new rule, police said and those who flouted the law could face a €135 fine.

Although the national rules stipulate face masks only in indoor public spaces and certain outdoor venues such as sports stadiums and markets, many local authorities have brought in their own rules on face masks outdoors.

Paris joined a long list of areas – including many ski resorts – where local authorities have made masks mandatory outdoors as well as indoors.

The greater Paris areas of Seine-Saint-Denis, Hauts-de-Seine, Val-de-Marne, Val-d’Oise and Seine-et-Marne have also reinstated mask rules in outdoor areas.

Paris police also announced extra restrictions around the New Year weekend.

  • All bars, including those with a late licence, must close by 2am on January 1st and 2nd
  • The consumption of alcohol in traditionally busy public areas – including the banks of the Seine and Ile de la Cité – is banned between 6pm on December 31st and 6am on January 1st
  • Dancing is prohibited in bars and cafés (this has actually already been announced by the government but was reiterated by Paris police). Nightclubs are closed throughout the country for at least three weeks

France on Wednesday reported a new record-high daily Covid-19 case total of 208,000 as Omicron drives infections up after Christmas. Paris has seen soaring infection rates in recent weeks with the incidence rate passing 2,000 cases per 100,000.

“I wouldn’t call Omicron a wave anymore… I would call it a tidal wave,” said French Health Minister Olivier Véran.

The government has announced new restrictions including an extension on the closure of nightclubs and encouraging more remote working.

But it has so far shied away from mass closures or lockdowns seen in other EU countries such as the Netherlands.

Member comments

      1. Hello all. Most major cities (Marseille, Lyon, Toulouse etc.) will follow Paris BUT if there are any specific restrictions they will be posted on bars, restaurants etc. no dancing is allowed anywhere. No fireworks are happening. Imagine last year. A bit similar.
        ask me any questions since I teach French Society, French Culture and read so many newspapers.

  1. I had a trip planned for February. I have the Green pass from my visit in October with the booster on the pass. My 2 friends that are coming with me have all 3 shots BUT I the green pass site to USA is closed. Anyone know what the new protocol is now ? Can they use their Covid cards to enter places ? In October Covid cards were sufficient.
    Thank you if anyone can answer.

    1. February is in two months. Things change rapidly. Check 3 days in advance the French Consulate website in your area. Protocols are rapidly changing. Two choices : Omicron might be gone OR we have a new variant. If you buy any airline ticket, make sure there is a GOOD cancellation policy so you can postpone or cancel without fees or loss of money.
      ask me anything through my website

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France lifts all Covid-related travel restrictions as State of Emergency ends

From August 1st 2022 France is no longer under a State of Emergency, and this means several important changes for travellers.

France lifts all Covid-related travel restrictions as State of Emergency ends

France declared a State of Emergency in March 2020 because of the Covid pandemic, and that state has been extended several times.

From August 1st, however, that is officially lifted, although the government does retain certain powers to impose Covid travel rules.

The key difference for those travelling, is that the end of the State of emergency means the end of all Covid-related restrictions at the border.

Travellers to France – regardless of country they are travelling from – no longer need to provide either proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test, an attestation that they are free of Covid symptoms or any justification for their journey. 

Basically, travel goes back to how it was before the pandemic with no requirement for health-related paperwork. For full details, click HERE.

However, the government has retained the right to reinstate compulsory Covid testing at the border if the health situation changes – for example in the case of the emergence of a concerning new variant.

This can be done if the Health Minister has reported its necessity and “after the opinion of the competent scientific authority” and does not require a debate in parliament to impose, which means that new rules could be imposed quickly. The exact nature of the testing rules would depend on the severity of the new outbreak.

READ MORE: What are the new Covid rules as France scraps its State of Emergency?

The ability to bring in extra testing for those entering or leaving France – if the health situation requires it – remains in place until March 31, 2023. It can be extended from that date if parliament agrees.

The wearing of masks on public transport such as trains, taxis and the Metro remains “strongly recommended” but is no longer compulsory. Airlines have the right to impose mask rules as a condition of travel, so you should check with your carrier before you travel. 

Once in France the majority of Covid-related restrictions have now been lifted – you can read more here.  

Some countries still have requirements for vaccines or testing at the border, so if you are travelling from France, check with your destination country on their rules.