French and Riviera News Tuesday 4th May 2021


Incidence rate in the Alpes Maritimes at its lowest since October 2020 - The Covid incidence rate in the Alpes Maritimes has reached its lowest since October of last year. The latest figures show that, to date it stands at 125.5 (for the week of April 24th to April 30th). The figure shows that the virus has dropped in terms of circulation however there has also been a drop in the screening rate which is also to be taken into account. The regional incidence rate does however remain below France’s national average which stands at 245 per every 100,000 people.

Report suggest that France “can do better” in its vaccination campaign - Meanwhile a report carried out by a citizen collective on the vaccination campaign has concluded that France “can do better”. The report made public on Monday May 3rd criticizes the lack of clarity from authorities and constant change of directives and also calls for competent advisers to be made available on the 0800 number set up to answer questions about the vaccination. In order to restore confidence in the vaccine the collective invites the Head of State to think of new forms of communication, for example by means of a program in which specialists would answer questions from the public as well as brochures in waiting rooms and television advertising spots.  

Can I travel to Italy? - On Monday France lifted the travel ban during the day however travelling abroad remains strictly limited. For example anyone wishing to travel to Italy between now and May 15th must present a negative PCR or antigen Covid test carried out less than 48 hours beforehand, report to the regional health authority on arrival and carry out a five day isolation period (even if your test is negative) as well as repeat a test at the end of the isolation period. Note that these rules do not apply to “trips by residents of border areas within a radius of 30km from your home for a period of less than 24 hours (such as border workers) or for business trips which are considered to be “essential”.

You may be exempt from testing and isolation while traveling to Italy if:

- Your stay does not exceed 120 hours, or 5 days, and that you are traveling for proven work, health or absolute emergency needs.

- You transit, by private means, on Italian territory for a period not exceeding 36 hours;

- You are a frontier worker.

In other words, you cannot cross the border in Menton just to go shopping in Ventimiglia.

Health measures in Monaco - Meanwhile, health measures recently in force in Monaco have been extended until Sunday, May 16th, but some relaxations have been made. As from Monday May 3rd bars in Monaco which serve breakfast may open under certain conditions. Access is reserved for Monaco residents, employees and hotel guests. Sports practice is also authorized in accordance with a strict health protocol. The curfew between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. will remain in effect in Monaco for two additional weeks. The compulsory use of teleworking in the private and public sectors remains in force. The Monaco government said that overall, the circulation of the virus is declining, but the slowdown is much slower than last autumn. In one month, the incidence rate has been divided by three, but the number has slightly risen again recently and continuing vigilance is necessary.

Air travel - As France gradually lifts the national lockdown due to Covid, Nice International airport has announced upcoming plans to offer four new links on domestic flights to Brest, Nantes, Lille and La Rochelle as well as four European capital cities including London and Prague. In addition, there will be two new destinations departing from Nice to Menorca and Southampton. In total, 18 destinations will be available to France, which is expected to attract more domestic tourists than usual due to the health crisis. There will be 66 destinations within Europe and 12 outside the continental borders, to seven countries.

French economy - The Insee Statistics agency has said that the French economy returned to growth in the first quarter of 2021, due to enthusiastic consumer spending, despite crippling Covid-19 restrictions. French Gross Domestic Product edged up 0.4 percent compared to the final three months of 2020, a year that saw the coronavirus pandemic plunge countries worldwide into historic recessions. The agency added however that the economic rebound was limited, as GDP is still 4.4 percent below its level of the fourth quarter 2019, before the pandemic began.

European Commission travel proposal - The European Union has recommended allowing in visitors who have been fully vaccinated against Covid, as well as those coming from countries with a stable health situation, with no additional restrictions