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Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Covid-19: France to relax travel rules from the UK


France will relax its restrictions for those travelling from the UK from Friday, the government has announced.

Vaccinated travellers will no longer require a compelling reason to enter France and will not be required to self-isolate once there.

However, a negative Covid test taken 24 hours before leaving the UK will be required for all those arriving.

Travel companies reacted positively to the news, with Jet2 reporting a “sharp” increase in flight bookings to ski destinations.

France brought in the restrictions on 18 December in an attempt to slow the spread of the Omicron variant.

People who are not vaccinated will still need a compelling reason to enter France, and must still isolate for 10 days upon arrival.

The country is battling a surge in Covid-19 infections. On Thursday, there were a record 368, 817 new cases and 341 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The change has been welcomed by both vacationers and the travel industry.

Melissa Hamblett of Gloucester has had to reschedule a trip to Disneyland for her son Max’s birthday five times since booking it in 2020.

“Our son is still at school, so he isn’t aware of the update,” she explained. “He’s going to be overjoyed.”

It’s been “really disappointing,” she says, to have to keep rescheduling. “I was convinced that it would happen again. I’d had enough of getting my hopes up.”

“We’ve got a countdown chalkboard in our kitchen,” says big Disney fan Melissa Hamblett

Eurostar welcomed the change and said it would expand its services in the coming weeks, while Brittany Ferries called it a “great relief.”

“I can only hope that we have seen the last border closure of the Covid crisis,” said the ferry company’s CEO, Christophe Mathieu.

“Thousands of Brittany Ferries passengers have been inconvenienced, and millions of pounds in revenue have been lost as a result of draconian measures such as border closures.”

Around 17 million British nationals visit France each year, according to ABTA, which represents travel companies, and it is one of the most popular destinations for UK vacationers.

“Thousands of people go there for ski breaks at this time of year, so this will be a huge relief for customers who have holidays booked there for the next few weeks and have been waiting for news,” ABTA said.

“We are still waiting for more information on entry requirements, such as the rules that will apply to children, from the French government. Travellers should keep an eye on the Foreign Office’s travel advice.”

Jet2 announced the resumption of flights to French ski destinations, with the company’s CEO saying, “This is the positive news that skiers and snowboarders have been waiting for, and the spike in bookings for ski flights has been both sharp and immediate.”

Britons accounted for one in four tourists in Chamonix before the Covid pandemic

France tightened its restrictions earlier this month, making remote work mandatory for those who can and restricting public gatherings to indoor events. Eating and drinking on long-distance transportation is prohibited, cafés and bars can only offer table service, and nightclubs are closed.

On Thursday, the French Senate approved a controversial pass, which requires people to be fully vaccinated to visit a range of spaces, including bars and restaurants. It also removes the option of showing a negative test to get in.

Thousands protested against the pass on Saturday, with many angry at President Emmanuel Macron who has said he wants to “piss off” unvaccinated citizens.

In total, 12.6 million people have been infected in France, and more than 127,000 have died.


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