France Announces Confusing Two-Week Quarantine For Arriving Travelers
One of the greatest unknowns of travel these days is travel restrictions. Domestically, Hawaii has been one of the strictest states in preventing travel, even exploring tracking visitors with ankle monitors. This has created a number of questions as to when foreign travel may resume, and it is unknown when the quarantine will take effect.
Over the weekend, France announced it is going to require arriving passengers to quarantine for 14 days. France has barred tourists from traveling to France since April 8, 2020.
The announcement caused some confusion for Europeans, who wondered if they also had to quarantine. There is still confusion over the status of the potential quarantine. The French Health Minister said at a press conference, “This quarantine will be imposed on everyone arriving on French soil.”
That statement seemed to match the language of a bill currently going through the French legislature that includes language for a quarantine. That bill is supposed to be taken up this week, and it extends the “state of health emergency” to July 24, 2020.
Confusion Over The Announcement
France has since clarified that “anyone arriving from the European Union, Schengen zone, or Britain regardless of their nationality” will not be subject to quarantine. France said it will provide more guidance in the coming days for European Union and French citizens arriving from outside the Schengen zone and Britain. It’s unclear if this means those directly traveling from those exempt areas or just flights arriving from those exempt areas. Those who are directed by French officials to quarantine will be able to appeal the decision to a judge.
The French Consulate in the United Kingdom announced the clarification on Twitter. The Consulate announced, “People entering the French territory from countries in the European area (EU/Schengen and United Kingdom) will NOT be affected by the quarantine measure announced in France, the details of which will be specified shortly.” The announcement seemed to be a contradiction of the health minister’s announcement, but the Élysée Palace confirmed the consulate’s view on the subject.
#Quarantaine: les personnes entrant sur le territoire français en provenance des pays de l’espace européen (UE / Schengen et Royaume-Uni) ne seront PAS concernées par la mesure de quarantaine annoncée en France, dont les modalités seront prochainement précisées. #Covid_19
— ConsulFranceLondres (@ConsulFranceUK) May 3, 2020
France announced legislation that is extending its “state of health emergency” to July 24. However, France is planning on loosening some restrictions in the country on May 11. During that time, France plans on easing children back to school, and some businesses will open. France will also allow people to travel within 60 miles of their homes.
France has had a decline in the number of coronavirus cases in recent days. As of May 4, the country had 168,925 cases and 24,900 deaths since the outbreak began.
We can probably expect to see countries move forward with these kind of restrictions. Of course, for many people this renders travel to France useless if they aren’t included in one of the exceptions. These travel restrictions will also make it more difficult for the travel industry to recover. Many companies are at the mercy of government policies on whether demand for their services will go back to some semblance of normal. The days ahead may give some clarity on some of the confusion surrounding the announcement of the quarantine.