It’s good news from France, as Prime Minister Édouard Philippe announces plans for easing of lockdown, including allowing group gatherings and lifting some travel rules. Find out what’s happening and when.
French government publishes ‘déconfinement’ strategy
Talk of déconfinement has been circulating in the media for some weeks now, and yesterday French lawmakers voted to approve the government’s plan. The essential strategy is to divide it into stages, with the first stage lasting 11th May to 2nd June, to divide easing based on regions and to continue to ‘protect, test and isolate’.
The key dates for easing lockdown are:
- Gatherings of up to ten people can take place
- Journeys of over 100km will be authorised for urgent family or professional reasons
- TGV trains will start running again, although with a limited service
- Confinement forms will no longer be required for travelling close to home
- Shops will be able to open, apart from bars and restaurants and shopping malls
- Masks will be compulsory on public transport
- Maternelle and primary school classes will return
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- Collège (‘middle school’) classes will resume in less-affected regions
- Beaches may reopen
- Religious ceremonies may restart
Every day, the coronavirus briefing will show a localised map, with ‘red’ and ‘green’ zones according to the severity of infections. Restrictions may be eased less in red zones.
International travel from the UK will not be restricted
We had further good news at the end of this week, as it was announced that British travellers will join the list of EU/Schengen countries that will not be expected to quarantine for fourteen days upon entry to France. The government is clearly ready to welcome overseas visitors to support its tourism, hospitality and property industry – and it’s great news for anyone buying or selling, or indeed running a gite or other holiday property.
What does this mean for property buyers?
Overall, this is very much good news and a big step back to some semblance of normality returning. While the government is warning that these plans could be adjusted if infection rates do return, as it stands, thing are looking positive. International travel easing from outside Europe isn’t yet determined, but it means virtual viewing trips can easily go ahead and professionals such as notaries and estate agents can make the necessary trips within France and European buyers can visit properties following social distancing rules. And, as the situation eases, we would expect international travel for buyers from, for example, America to become more viable, too.
It seems likely that many of our favourite areas, like the Charente and Dordogne, will be declared ‘green’ zones for infection levels, so we may find easing continues apace.
Buying a property in France is extremely exciting, but it can be nerve-wracking: in what ways is the process different to the UK, how do you cope with the language difference, what fees should you expect and just who is the notaire? That’s why we’ve put together our France Buying Guide, to help you through the process, step by step.
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