France Unveils Plans to Welcome Foreign Visitors, Remove All Restrictions

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Paris, France: Photo by Nikolay Kovalenko | Colin Viessmann on Unsplash

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The thought of vacation in France seemed nearly impossible a few months ago, but that's no longer the case.

On Thursday, French president Emmanuel Macron unveiled a four-step plan to reopen the country.

The first stage of the plan will take affect on May 3, when secondary-school and high-school students will start returning to in-person classes and the ban on domestic travel will be lifted.

"We have taken on the responsibility of the priority on education and the strategy of living with the virus, including with high numbers of infections, higher than those of our neighbors," Macron said.

The second stage of the plan will be enacted On May 19, when France's cafes and restaurants will be allowed to open outdoor dining areas and serve groups of up to six people. Non-essential shops will also be allowed to re-open, as will museums, movie theatres, music and sports venues, and other cultural attractions. Capacity for those businesses will be 800 people indoors and 1000 outdoors. The country's active curfew will also be pushed back to 9:00 pm.

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On June 9, the plan will continue, as cafes and restaurants will be allowed to resume indoor service, and events of up to 5000 people will be allowed. At that point, the curfew will be further pushed back to 11:00 pm. Foreign visitors will also be welcomed back, providing they can provide a pass sanitaire — or health pass. The details of that pass, which will also be required to attend large sporting events and concerts inside the country, have not be revealed.

"The health pass should not be mandatory for access to everyday things such as restaurants, theatres and cinemas or to go see friends," Macron said. "But for places with big crowds, such as stadiums, festivals, trade fairs or exhibitions, it would be absurd not to use it".

The final stage of the plan will take affect on June 30, when all remaining restrictions, including curfews, are lifted—though night clubs will still remained closed.

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