France (20 March 2020)

Restrictions

As from 17 March, 12:00, and for 15 days, new measures have entered into force to limit activities and public gatherings in order to limit the effect of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. A national lockdown has been declared. People are allowed out only in cases of emergencies, to buy food or for work (a written document must justify any movement). Freight transport is exempt from the movement restrictions.

Confusion has arisen regarding whether a certificate to justify movements for professional purposes (justificatif de déplacement professionnel) is also required for non-French professional drivers. These certificates are available in French and English and can be downloaded here. Pending official confirmation, IRU recommends that all professional drivers take such a certificate with them to avoid unnecessary penalties.

Only the Schengen area borders are being closed for the next 30 days (external borders of the European Union).

On 20 March 2020, the French Government published a number of additional requirements for passenger transport by bus, coach and taxi, and road freight transport:

– Bus and coach

  • Vehicles must be disinfected once per day.
  • The front door of multi-door vehicles can no longer be used by passengers, unless the driver is completely protected by a transparent barrier.
  • The social distancing rules must be displayed on the vehicle.
  • Tickets are no longer sold on board.

– Taxi

  • Passengers can no longer sit next to the driver.
  • The driver can refuse passengers with visible symptoms of the COVID-19 virus.

– Road freight transport (conditions are applicable to drivers and staff at loading and unloading points)

  • Social distancing rules must be observed.
  • Where there is no access to water, disinfectant gel must be made available.
  • No personal contact is allowed when signing contracts.
  • Goods can only be delivered at the place indicated on the transport document.
  • Home delivery is only possible by leaving the goods at the door. No physical contact with the customer is permitted.
  • Delays for complaints about the delivery have been set.

Relieves

Following considerable disruption on the road encountered by road freight transport and logistics operators following the announcement of the lockdown, the French Government has issued new measures to facilitate freight transport. These include guarantees for access for freight transport and logistics workers to their workplace and to loading and unloading places, extra protection for freight transport and logistics workers and a derogation to keep stores, restaurants and sanitary facilities open at service stations. The text of the announcement can be found here. A map showing restaurants that are open is available online.

In addition, a decree was published on 20 March 2020 which lifts the weekend traffic bans for heavy goods vehicles until 20 April 2020. More details can be found here.

Sources: French Government, FNTR and AFTRI

A consolidated overview of the global Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak situation is available on IRU Flash Info webpage.

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