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LATEST: What are the Covid rules in France’s ski resorts?

Masks and heath passes will be required in French ski resorts.
Masks and heath passes are required in French ski resorts. Photo: Jeff Pachoud/AFP
If you're planning a skiing holiday in France, here are the rules that you will need to be aware of.

Travel

If you’re coming from outside France, you first need to know if the border is open to you.

France operates a traffic light system of travel.

If you are coming from a green country you can travel for any reason. Fully vaccinated people need only proof of vaccination at the border, while unvaccinated people also need a negative Covid test. Green countries include all EU and Schengen zone countries, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

If you’re coming from an orange or red country, you can only travel for a ski holiday (which is classed as non-essential for travel purposes, no matter how much you have missed whizzing down the slopes) if you are vaccinated. This covers both the UK and the USA.

Testing rules apply to all over 12s.

Find the full explanation on travel rules here.

COMPARE: What are the Covid rules in European ski resorts this winter?

Resort rules

Masks – masks are compulsory in the queues for ski lifts, and also in the lifts for anyone over 11 years of age. They are not required while actually skiing, and a ski mask can be accepted for this purpose, provided if fully covers both your nose and mouth. 

Some local authorities have also brought in rules requiring masks in all outdoor spaces including the street and this includes many ski resorts, so check the local rules in your resort. 

Queuing 

Resorts will likely make more space available for queuing to try to maintain social distancing measures between those waiting in line.

Covid Health pass – the health pass, which is used to show if you are fully vaccinated or have tested negative or recovered from Covid is required to access ski lifts.

Initially it was not required, but with the caveat that it would be introduced if France’s national incidence rate reached 200 cases per 100,000. This has now happened and a government decree has clarified that the health pass will be required to access ski lifts.

Ski resort chiefs say that in general, people will be asked to show their health pass at the moment they buy the ski pass for the resort. Random checks will also be carried out at lifts and cable cars.

The health pass will be required in France for everyone over the age of 12, and this is a particular problem for UK families, since most UK teenagers have so far only been offered a single dose of the Covid vaccine – not enough for them to count as ‘”fully vaccinated” under the rules of the French health pass.

Children aged between 12 and 18 therefore have the choice of taking a Covid test every 24 hours – at a cost of up to €22 a time for antigen tests – or avoiding using ski lifts while on holiday.

For more on the issue of children and health passes CLICK HERE.

National rules

Ski resorts are of course also covered by the nationwide French health rules, as well as those specific to skiing.

Masks – masks are required in all indoor public spaces and on all public transport. Many local authorities have also brought in rules requiring masks in outdoor areas including the streets and this covers many ski resorts. There are no exemptions to the mask rules in France and failure to wear one correctly can net you a €135 fine.

Bars and restaurants – Unlike last winter bars and restaurants are open in France and there are no capacity limits placed on them. Nightclubs however have been closed for several weeks and bars are required to offer table service only. Dancing in bars is also banned.

Health pass – the health pass is required to enter a wide range of venues including cafés, bars, restaurants, leisure centres and long-distance train travel – find the full list here

Visitors from the UK and EU can use the QR code on their vaccination certificate to access the health pass via the TousAntiCovid app, but other non-EU visitors need to acquire a European code – find out how here.

What is fully vaccinated in France?

From January 15th, the term “fully vaccinated” includes a booster shot within 7 months of the second dose of two-dose vaccine like Pfizer.

That means that it’s over seven months since your second dose of a vaccine your health pass will no longer be valid without a booster. This applies to tourists as well as French residents, but does not affect those aged between 12 and 18.

Full details here.

Other restrictions – ski businesses have been very hard hit by first the early end of the 2019/20 season and then the cancellation of most of the 2020/21 season, so are desperate to remain open throughout this season. Some have therefore imposed their own extra restrictions in the hope of keeping case numbers down, from limitations on group size to extra cleaning protocols, so make sure you check in advance the conditions of stay in accommodation. 

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Children 

If you are travelling with children, bear in mind that the health pass is compulsory for anyone aged 12 and over.

France has been vaccinating teenagers since the summer and over 80 percent of 12-18-year-olds have now had at least one dose of the vaccine, with 73 percent having had both doses. However for people travelling from countries that are not offering the vaccine to under 18s or have only just started their child vaccination programme this may pose a problem, since the health pass is required to access many everyday activities.

Children are required to be ‘fully vaccinated’ which means two doses of AstraZeneca, Pfizer or Moderna or a single dose of Johnson & Johnson. A single dose or Pfizer or Moderna is not accepted as being ‘fully vaccinated’ and people who have only had one dose will have to follow the rules for unvaccinated people.

The alternative for unvaccinated over 12s is to have regular tests in order to use the health pass – these are now required every 24 hours, a change from the previous rule of every 72 hours.

Tests in France are freely available from pharmacies, but visitors are charged at €22 for an antigen tests or €44 for a PCR test. Either test type works with the health pass.

The testing option will disappear when France changes its health pass into a vaccine pass, a change scheduled for the end of January, subject to parliamentary approval. 


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