Despite a fourth COVID-19 wave currently sweeping through France, the French government continues keeping its borders open to fully vaccinated travellers.
Atout France, the French tourist office, has issued a communication pointing out that certain French-administered territories have their own special regulations, different from those of continental France. Due to a resurgence of the COVID-19 epidemic in Martinique and Réunion, a state of health emergency on the two islands was declared on July 13. A curfew is in force between 21h00 and 05h00 in Martinique and from 23h00 to 05h00 in La Réunion.
Because of the emergency, since July 21 unvaccinated visitors to Martinique require compelling reasons for travel to or from the island, with the exception of minors accompanying vaccinated adults. These restrictions also apply to Réunion, Guyana and Mayotte.
Meanwhile the reopening of France to fully vaccinated visitors from all over the world, including ‘red-list’ countries like South Africa, rolls ahead.
To enter continental France, vaccinated South Africans must ensure that the certificate of vaccination shows the complete vaccination process has been followed, and the necessary time lapse after the final injection, ie:
- 7 days after the 2nd injection for double-injection vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca).
- 4 weeks after injection for vaccines with a single injection (Johnson & Johnson)
- 7 days after the injection for vaccines in people with a history of COVID (one single injection).
The communication from Atout France refers to the controversial ‘pass sanitaire’ (which is already required to attend certain leisure and cultural events and venues where attendance is more than 50), the cause of public protests in Paris.
From August 1, this pass will be required for anyone over the age of 12, (minors up to 18 will be exempt until August 30), to enter cafés, restaurants, shopping centres (of more than 20 000 sqm), long-distance transportation (air, train, bus), and hospitals, for anyone over 12 years old. It will be needed to go up the Eiffel Tower.
The pass is intended for use in a digital format, so for countries like South Africa that issue paper certificates only, not much is understood yet. At present, the vaccination certificate (and a copy of the certificate, stored digitally on a phone/iPad) should serve this purpose. Travel News will report any further news on the ‘pass sanitaire’ for the SA market.
Mask-wearing is no longer mandatory outdoors in continental France, except at outdoor gatherings, such as markets. Until August 6, it is compulsory to wear a mask in public places in the Pyrenees-Orientales (Eastern Pyrenees, excluding on beaches and large outdoor spaces).
Atout France advises SA travellers to France to expect a two-week waiting time for the issuing of visas.