France will ‘progressively’ lift restrictions from May, potentially opening up summer holidays

Apr 19, 2021

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For those who enjoy their vin et fromage, this week brings some good news for the possibility of a holiday in France.

French President Emmanuel Macron told CBS News on Sunday that France will start to lift travel restrictions starting in May, citing a possible vaccination passport to allow a person to travel. These enhanced travel privileges would affect non-European Union nations, such as the United States, though Macron didn’t specifically mention whether the loosened border restrictions would also apply to Britons.

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“We will progressively lift the restrictions of the beginning of May, which means that we will organise in the summer time with our professionals in France for French European citizens, but as well for American citizens,” Macron said.

Full details still need to be worked out by the French government, but Macron said that ideally, France would be open for travellers “who are vaccinated, with a special pass” insinuating that a vaccine certificate would be required for travel to France.

Macron mentioned that his government is in the final stage of developing such a certificate, creating the possibility that a summer holiday in France will no longer just be a hope.

Related: Britons can start thinking about summer holidays abroad as Global Travel Taskforce outlines UK return to travel

(Photo by Harald Nachtmann/Getty Images)

International tavel from the U.K. is not permitted until at least 17 May at the earliest. At that point, travel will assume a traffic light system in the U.K., with the government categorising destinations based on their risk level. At this point, the government hasn’t indicated which countries will be placed at which level, though it’s possible that France could be given a green or amber classification, given declining case rates and ramping up its vaccination programme.

Related: Which countries could be on the UK’s green list?

To date, France has distributed more than 16 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines — about 12.5% of the country’s population, according to Reuters. Cases of COVID-19 within the country are on the decline, with 344 infections per 100,000 people in the past seven days.

Macron said that the French government is working with its U.S. counterparts in the White House to lift travel restrictions between the two countries. While France has been closed to American citizens, the U.S. has also been closed to Europeans. Since March 2020, the United States has not allowed non-citizens coming from Europe — including the U.K. — to enter.

Macron’s statement on Sunday has been one of the most notable in the reopening of travel in Europe — especially for Americans. While other European countries like Germany and the Netherlands are still in a lockdown state until further notice, other countries are starting to show signs of reopening.

Italy announced it was set to begin the easing of restrictions ahead of schedule and Malta is even paying some travellers to go on holiday, providing a positive outlook for a summer holiday in southern Europe. Greece, meanwhile, announced plans to reopen its borders to travellers coming from some countries, including the U.S. and U.K., as soon as this week.

Featured image by Marco Bottigelli/Getty Images

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