The law was approved during a debate in the National Assembly last night (May 11). It has yet to be approved by the Senate and a debate is due to take place on May 18.
The current state of emergency was introduced on October 17, 2020. It allows the government to introduce measures such as lockdowns and travel restrictions at local and national levels without decrees.
What will change on June 2?
During the four-month transition period, the Prime Minister may continue to implement by decree measures “in the interest of public health and for the sole purpose of combating the spread of the Covid-19 epidemic” .
A national lockdown will no longer be legally possible.
The government will however retain the right to place up to 10% of the population under lockdown, by decree, in any areas where Covid-19 continues to pose a threat.
It will also be allowed to close stores under the same rule.
These measures would only be authorized for a maximum of one month, failing which a new vote in Parliament would be necessary.
The national nighttime curfew, currently in effect between 7:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. but expected to be gradually pushed back, will still be legally permitted during the transition period and will continue until the end of June.
Our graph below explains how France will ease Covid-related restrictions over the next two months, including plans to push back the curfew until it is lifted on June 30.
The law on exiting the state of health emergency also included an article relating to the introduction of a Covid-19 health pass. This pass will be used to allow French people to attend major events, such as festivals. You can find out more here.
Why can the curfew continue?
The state of health emergency allows the Prime Minister to introduce measures that restrict freedom of movement, freedom of business and freedom of assembly (including measures prohibiting movement outside the home).
Under the newly passed exit law, the prime minister will in effect lose the right to ban people from leaving their homes, but will retain the right to regulate popular movements, Franceinfo reported.
This means that a lockdown is not allowed, but a curfew, which only regulates movement, is allowed.
It is a very slight nuance and has caused confusion in France.
On April 28, Prime Minister Jean Castex announced that the government planned to end the state of health emergency on June 1. Many media reported that this would automatically end the curfew.
The next day, April 29, President Emmanuel Macron announced a four-date easing of restrictions related to Covid, including the curfew extending until June 30.
French MPs vote in favor of the Covid health pass to be used from June 9
Covid France: how restaurants, shops, museums will reopen from May 19