Additional Information for Confinement
Following the announcement of President Emmanuel Macron on the re-confinement in place from midnight Thursday 29th October, Prime Minister Jean Castex has provided further information on the finer details. We provide a breakdown of what was said here.
In place from midnight 29th October until, at least, the 1st December, confinement is total across the entire French mainland territory.
Residents will be allowed to leave their homes for one of the following reasons and on presentation of a completed attestation:
- Food shopping
- Go/return from work if you can’t work from home
- Accompany children to/from school
- Medical reasons including visits to the pharmacy
- Urgent family reasons
- Judicial/administrative reasons (including banks, post offices and appointments at the offices of CAF, Pole Emploi, mairies and préfectures)
- Charity/association work with prior authorisation
- Exercise and exercise or for pets, for a maximum of 1 hour and within 1km radius of home
There will be the temporary attestations that we used in the springtime, plus two ‘permanent’ attestations for the recurring circumstances of professional travel that cannot be delayed or done by télétravail (working from home) and for accompanying children to and from school.
The professional attestation will be provided to employees by their employer, and for the school run, the attestations will be provided by the schools.
Independent, self-employed workers can simply present their trading cards as justification.
Castex specified that only individual, outdoor sports such as jogging are authorised. Gyms and sports halls will be closed and group/team sports are forbidden.
Unlike during the springtime confinement, lakes, forests, beaches and parks remain open but will only be accessible to those living within 1km.
Other than a grace period of this coming weekend (30th October – 1st November) for those returning from holidays, travel is now forbidden.
Those returning from holidays will need to provide an attestation sur honneur (a written sworn statement) that their travel conforms to this specific exception.
The prime minister specified that travel between primary and secondary residences falls outside of the permitted travel circumstances.
Despite this restriction, national borders remain open within the European Union but are closed to the rest of the world. Arrivals from outside of the EU will need to undergo a test 72h before arrival and if this has not been possible, will undergo a test on arrival.
A complete list of the businesses that can remain open and those that are forced to close can be found on the government website.
Those that are allowed to remain open include:
- essential food suppliers
- petrol stations
- IT and telecommunication providers
- DIY and professional suppliers
- Crèches, schools, colleges and lycées
- Hotels (but only offering room service)
- Public transport
- Religious establishments
Religious and civic ceremonies will be limited to 30 people for funerals and 6 people for weddings, with an exception of ceremonies planned for this coming weekend (30th Oct – 1st Nov).
Any businesses that remain open will need to limit the number of people accessing the site and prioritise delivery or click and collect services where possible.
The Minister of Education, Jean-Michel Blanquer, specified that it was essential to protect both children and teachers, whilst ensuring the continuity of learning.
Confinement has shown itself to have serious consequences not just on academic education but also on psychological and physical development of youth.
He also confirmed that contaminations within the school environment remain rare, only 0.04% of schools have been closed, only 0.18% of teachers have contracted Covid 19.
Because schools are an environment in which rules are respected, they are actually a secure space and as such should be kept open as long as possible.
He assured listeners that all teachers are ready to implement online learning immediately if the decision is taken to close.
A key change for this period is that all children over the age of 6 will be required to wear a mask. These will be available at school if students forget their own or if the family is not in a financial situation to provide them.
University lectures will operate entirely online, except in the case of classes requiring specific equipment.
University libraries will be open on appointment and research laboratories will operate when teletravail in not possible.
The Minister of the Economy, Bruno le Maire, declared that, unlike springtime, we are now more prepared in terms of protecting employees but we need to reduce movements as far as possible.
Télétravail is an obligation for any business that can operate in this way.
For those that cannot, tasks must be organised to reduce movements to a minimum. Employers must adapt working hours to minimise contact between employees.
Employees are also encouraged to download the TousAntiCovid app to help track and traces cases of contamination.
For the 200,000 businesses that are forced to close, and for any remaining business that finds themselves in financial difficulty, government support will be increased.
The chômage partiel is extended until at least 31st December, covering 84% of net salaries plus an additional 15% for businesses forced to close.
The fonds de solidarité will be extended to apply to all businesses, regardless of sector, to help compensate loss of earnings and outlay for stock in the lead up to Christmas.
Businesses of under 50 employees
If the business has been forced to close, they will benefit from a total exoneration of social charges and up to 10,000€ per month to cover loss of income.
If the business is within the tourism, culture, sports or events industry, with a loss of over 50% of revenue, they will also receive total exoneration and up to 10,000€ per month.
All other businesses with a loss of over 50% can claim up to 1,500€ per month and delay payment of their social charges.
Social contributions will be automatically suspended.
Businesses can apply for a state loan (prêt garanti par l’état) until June 2021 and those who already have one can add up to 5 years to their repayment programme. Initial repayments can be deferred for a year (or an additional year if one year has already been accorded).
Delayed payments will not have any impact on credit rating.
Additional money is being made available for direct loans of up to 10,000€ for businesses with under 10 employees, 50,000€ for up to 50 employees, and the equivalent of 3 months of revenue for businesses of over 50 employees. These loans will be according on a case-by-case basis.
Regardless of the financial help provided, the minister recognised that rent remains a big expense for businesses. As such the government is implementing credit d’impôts, encouraging landlords to waive a part of the rent.
Any landlords who accept, will get 30% credit rebate on their rental income– this is cumulable with other financial aid.
In accordance with the push for delivery or click and collect services, money and support is being made available to businesses to develop their online presence. Only 32% of small and medium businesses currently have a website and so the government pledges to help businesses move towards digitalisation.
The cost of implementing the above measures is estimated to be a whopping €15 billion per month of confinement but the government is making €20 billion available to help foresee and anticipate problems.
Bruno Le Maire asked viewers to “believe in the French economy”, saying that is has solid foundations and is powerful, agile and able to bounce back.
The Minister of Culture, Roselyne Bachelot-Narquin, described confinement as a cruel thunderbolt for those in the culture and sport industry who has made a colossal effort to adapt to the curfew restrictions.
Nevertheless, unprecedented and unparalleled measures have been put in place, above and beyond the measures mentioned for businesses in general.
She confirmed that artistic creation without an audience is possible, including rehearsals, recordings, filming and restoration of heritage sites.
Libraries will operate on a click and collect or delivery service and in 2 weeks, a decision will made as to whether ‘classic opening’ can be restored.
The primary objective is to prepare and support the medical profession.
As such the government is increasing the number of beds for Covid 19 patients in both private and public hospitals.
The increased number of ICU beds means the necessary postponement on non-essential surgery and operations. Treatment of cancer patients, psychological conditions and those with a disability will be prioritised.
With the increased beds, increased personnel was also necessary and 7000 new ICU staff have been trained with an additional 9000 available as ‘Covid reinforcements’.
Regional solidarity will see patients transferred from the most affected regions (including Occitanie) to regions with a lower rate of contamination.
Les professions libéraux (physios etc.) will be equipped to conduct testing to ease pressure on existing services.
He insisted that the best way to thank the medical professionals is to respect the rules and reduce contamination.
Castex reiterated that confinement will be in place until at least 1st December but that discussions are ongoing between local, national and European stakeholders and a check will be conducted in 2 weeks time.
He asked all citizens and residents to adapt our behaviour, to limit contact, to respect the rules, protecting both ourselves and others.