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Risk of December shutdown for France due to COVID?

We are coming to France and then Italy for 2 weeks in December. Austria has now completely shut to tourists and Germany has cancelled its Christmas Markets. I am worries that shut downs for France or Italy are basically imminent. So far it looks like the Christmas markets in Strasbourg are still on but I would hate for us to get to France and then things start shutting down. Does anyone have a sense of whether shutdowns are “on the table” for France? Is my worry misplaced? Trying to decide if we should delay our trip. I've always wanted to see Paris and Strasbourg at Christmas time so I hate to cancel but I also don't want to get there and everything shut down. Is there a particular news source I should be looking at to get a better sense of potential for shutdowns? Any insights would be MUCH appreciated. [NOTE: I am posting this in both the Italy and France forum boards]

Posted by
7728 posts

I'm not Nostradamus, but I can tell you that shutdowns are based on ICU occupancy. In the parts of Austria and Germany, where fewer people are vaccinated, the ICUs are full or almost full. On the other hand, France today, November 24th, is at 29%, thanks to so many people being vaccinated.

However, cases in France have jumped from 5,000 daily only three weeks ago to 20,000 recently and 30,000 yesterday, including the Prime Minister, who, like most vaccinated person's, has mild symptoms. Germany was logging 60,000 cases

The French decision makers are meeting today. We expect new orders to mask outside and boosters will be opened to a younger age group.

As of today, markets in France are opening. I don't expect any shutdowns.

There are two online newspapers in English that can keep you informed, if they are available in North America : The Connexion and the Local

Posted by
1498 posts

I read the French news regularly, and no one has mentioned anything at all about any additional lockdowns in France. In fact, 88% of France´s population is already vaccinated. Another figure the French government uses when considering restrictions is the ICU usage percentage. When it approaches full, the government acts but right, ICU usage is at 29% capacity.

Austria and Germany are not France, just as what anti Covid policies are in place in Florida are not those of Oregon, locations where case rates differ notably.

I cannot comment on Italy, but what is being talked about in France is the further restriction of those who are not yet vaccinated. Wear your mask, get vaccinated, and you are probably safer in Paris from infection than you are in many US cities.

Posted by
6742 posts

What Tocard and Bets said.

Anyway, there isn’t any news source that has a crystal ball as to what the government will do.

I personally don’t think a lockdown is in the cards anytime soon, but my opinion is worthless.

Posted by
149 posts

We are in a similar boat, Meagan! I appreciate everyone's insights and the links to the local papers, Bets!

Posted by
6742 posts

The government has announced today that tomorrow/Thursday sometime midday, the Health Minister will announce the new measures.

Rumors basically concern reinforced mask wearing and checks for health passes, as well as allowing anyone any age to get a booster shot, and allowing people to be eligible for booster shots only five months after their first two doses instead of the six months currently required.

Edit to add: another rumor of a possible measure is that the health pass gained by getting a negative Covid test will only be valid for 24 hours, rather than 72.

Posted by
1498 posts

I also believe that Attal, the French government spokesman, also said today that the government is planning no curfews, no new closures, and no new restrictions other than those which encourage vaccination (meaning, I believe, enhanced enforcement and scrutiny of the pass sanitaire).

Posted by
28 posts

We're in France at the moment - if you are eligible, it might be a good idea to get your Covid booster before going, especially if you are older. My understanding is that boosters are required after Dec. 15 for anyone over 65 in order to continue to have a Passe Sanitaire. I think it's conceivable that mandate may be eventually extended to lower age groups, so having your booster taken care of may help you meet any future requirements.

Posted by
6742 posts

Exactly right, Tocard. Sharon, your understanding is correct, too.

Posted by
1804 posts

Bets is right, The Local is a good online resource. Their take seems to be the new measures will target the unvaxxed locals, not tourists. Which makes sense.

Posted by
52 posts

in strasbourg now christmas market still scheduled open tommorrow

Mask wearing and health pass checking most places

though boat ride around city no checking? weird

much colder now so lots indoor dining which we are moving away from
but its hard

Posted by
22 posts

I am in the same boat! I know this is an ever-changing situation and it's stressful to decide to cancel or continue. We are scheduled to go to Normandy and Loire Valley and then back to Paris.

Posted by
259 posts

The actual expiration date of the pass sanitaire is seven months after your 2nd shot (unless it is Janssen, which expires much sooner). There is absolutely no way for the government to reduce this time limit because the vaccination system is overloaded until further notice and it is impossible to get appointments. Believe me, I have first hand knowledge.

Posted by
6742 posts

A small clarification: the pass sanitaire will only start expiring seven months after completion of vaccination as of January 15 (or, as of December 15 for those 65 years of age and above).

Posted by
259 posts

Infection rates are skyrocketing in France, particularly in Alsace. Mulhouse and Colmar are currently the most contaminated cities in France and their hospitals have reached complete saturation. No plans to shut down for the moment, but the restrictions on the Christmas markets are growing, with many fines being issued for not wearing or incorrectly wearing a mask. Also, people can no longer stroll around with food or drink. Anything like that must be consumed while standing still in specially designated areas.

It should be pointed out that more than 90% of the covid patients are unvaccinated, but if you need medical care for another reason, it is not certain that you will get it.

Posted by
68 posts

We are in France right now, actually on the train from Strasbourg back to Colmar.

The Christmas markets in both cities are still open, but even over the past two days there has been a definite shift. The pass sanitaire is now required for every purchase of food and drink, and you can only remove your mask to eat/drink in designated areas (where is pass is checked again upon entry).

When we were in Lyon two weeks ago, our pass was checked 25% of the time, maybe. Now it’s checked everywhere, without fail.

I am in no way qualified to predict the future, but I do not personally get the sense that there will be another lockdown right now. Of course, as we’ve all seen, things can change in a matter of days or even hours.

Posted by
6742 posts

Well, here we go again, folks. All the talk today is about the Prime Minister’s planned address Monday night (12/6) and what additional measures he will announce. We shall see.

Posted by
19 posts

Not about lockdown, but general COVID status: We're in Paris now and all seems pretty normal.
They're checking passe sanitaires everywhere, event to get into the outdoor Christmas market in Reims they checked. People are also very responsible with making.
It was super easy to get our passe sanitaire, art least in Paris, most pharmacies seem too do it and it doesn't take long.

Posted by
437 posts

"The actual expiration date of the pass sanitaire is seven months after your 2nd shot ": is this about getting the booster? I will actually be in France (hopefully) around 7 months after my booster. Any ideas as to whether or not this will be acceptable or is it just too early to tell?

Posted by
259 posts

Yes, that is the deadline for getting a booster. Today it was announced that anybody over the age of 65 will no longer need to make an appointment for a booster -- they can just walk in and ask for one.

Other announcements today concerned closing clubs and discos for the next 4 weeks and keeping schoolchildren separated a bit more in the lunchroom. I doubt that these items concern most of you. And also children will be able to be vaccinated now; but that was already a certainty.

Posted by
6742 posts

If, by January 15th (December 15th if you are 65 or older), you completed your vaccination scheme seven months or more and have not gotten a booster dose, your pass sanitaire will no longer be valid (or you won't be eligible to obtain one, if you haven’t had one already).

Posted by
6742 posts

Well, the prime minister and health minister gave addresses last night and announced among other things that they are closing the discos for four weeks as of Friday. So if dancing the night away at a disco was your reason for coming to France, you’ll want to reconsider, as that is now off the table for the immediate future.