For potential holidaymakers who are concerned about their travel plans to France in light of the Coronavirus / COVID-19 outbreak, here are some questions and answers we have researched across government bodies and the UK and French press.
There is an ongoing outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) in France. The French government outlined new measures on 14 March to delay the spread of coronavirus. This includes the closure of all non-essential establishments open to the public from Midnight, 14 March, until further notice (i.e. restaurants, cafes, cinemas). Food shops, pharmacies, petrol stations, and banks will stay open.
Am I allowed to travel to France?
No, the UK Foreign Office is still advising against all but essential travel.
Even were that to be lifted, France is not admitting tourists for the forseeable future, while non-Europeans who are permitted to enter the country must self-isolate for two weeks, at least until July 24.
The FCO says: “As countries respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, including travel and border restrictions, the FCO advises British nationals against all but essential international travel.
Here at France for Families we are closely monitoring the situation in France, paying constant attention to the guidance from the UK Government websites and ABTA.
If I book my holiday now, will I be entitled to a full refund if any of the properties has to cancel my holiday due to the Coronavirus outbreak?
You will be booking your holiday directly with the site or property owner. Please confirm with them what their cancellation policy is should you or they have to cancel your holiday.
We would encourage you to consider rebooking another date with your holiday property, either later in the year or potentially in 2021 or asking for a credit note if you can’t commit to another date as yet.
What happens if I or a member of my family are ill and can’t take the holiday?
Please ensure that when you book your holiday you have suitable travel insurance in place and that the insurance covers the Coronavirus / COVID-19. You will need to claim on this insurance if you or a member of your family falls in and you cannot take your holiday.
If the holiday home owners are forced to cancel your holiday, or make a significant change, then they will follow their own booking terms and conditions. Please ask them for full details when you make your booking.
Can I cancel my holiday if I don’t wish to travel to France?
If there are no travel restrictions and the holiday property you have booked have no issues and you decide not to travel and choose to cancel your holiday then very probably cancellation terms will apply. Please check with the property owner for the full conditions of booking.
Will I be covered by my travel insurance if I decide to cancel?
This will depend on the terms of your policy. Depending on the reason for your cancellation (for example if you are concerned about a serious underlying medical condition), you should contact your travel insurance provider to check if you can make a claim.
Where can I check for up-to-date travel and health information for destinations in France?
– UK health authorities are providing detailed advice for specific destinations and locations which is available at www.gov.uk/guidance/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-information-for-the-public
– Travellers are advised to read the FCO travel advice for the country they are travelling to. Visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice
– The National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) TravelHealthPro website travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries provides specific country-by-country travel health advice
– The NHS website has useful information about how to take preventative measures against Coronavirus at www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19
– ABTA also has updated advice and FAQs for travellers at www.abta.com/coronavirus
How can I stay safe on my holiday in France?
There is as yet no vaccine for coronavirus so French officials are advising people to practice good basic hygiene to keep themselves protected.
Wash hands your thoroughly and often with soap and water, especially after coughing and sneezing or before eating or it you have been touching surfaces that many other people will have touched such as on the Metro
Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth, especially with unwashed hands.
Cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing. Cover your mouth with your elbow when coughing
Use disposable tissues and throw them away after use
Clean off surfaces with alcohol or chlorine-based disinfectants.
The health minister has also advised that people stop shaking hands or doing la bise (the distinctive French double cheek kiss) during the outbreak.