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France reopens indoors, eases measures

Credit: Belga

France has reopened the indoor areas of bars and restaurants, and gyms and rock-climbing centres have been busy, so what’s changed for those of us looking to cross the border? 

From Wednesday, the French can one again enjoy leisure activities for the first time in months, thanks to new relaxations coronavirus fighting measures, while the United States is moving towards a resumption of international travel to and from the country. 

Working off of a similar set-up to Belgium, France is now entering into the second phase of its deconfinement plan, which comes three weeks after the reopening of terraces, cinemas and museums, and specialised shops with reduced capacity.

Here’s what’s allowed: 

Cafés and restaurants can once again welcome the public indoors, at 50% of their capacity.

The rules around teleworking have been relaxed, as have the rules for canteens and drinks with colleagues.

The curfew has been extended from 9:00 PM to 11:00 PM. It will end on 30 June, providing the health situation continues to improve, according to President Emmanuel Macron, who called on the French to remain “cautious” and to get vaccinated en masse.

France’s vaccination campaign is expected to reach its target of 30 million first-time vaccinations by 15 June, which means that 57% of the French adult population will have received at least one dose.

The number of people being admitted to hospital as a result of the coronavirus has fallen to less than 14,000, half the number recorded in mid-April.

A return for US tourists? 

On Tuesday, the US took measured steps toward a return to international travel, announcing the creation of working groups with “key partners” – Canada, Mexico, the European Union, and the United Kingdom – to prepare for this resumption.

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Just before President Joe Biden’s visit to Europe, Washington lowered its travel warning for several European countries, including France, Germany, Italy, and Spain, as well as Japan, a month and a half before the Olympic Games, and Canada and Mexico.

This reversal comes at a time when the EU has decided to allow entry to American travellers who are vaccinated against Covid, but is asking the United States for reciprocity.

“We already welcome American tourists from the moment they are vaccinated, from the moment they have had the two doses and after the 15-day waiting period,” European Commissioner for the Internal Market Thierry Breton said on Monday.

“I insist that we want reciprocity because for the moment we still have a quarantine in the United States [for Europeans],” he added.

The Brussels Times