France has been under a second nationwide lockdown since October 30 and there are some differences this time around. How’s it going and what are the France lockdown rules? How have I personally been coping with it? Let’s talk.
What the France lockdown is like this time around
First, let’s start with the facts. For your reference, the French government website has everything you need to know, so please default to that for an up-to-date official resource that is more complete than what I’m covering in this post.
In an effort to minimize the spread of the virus, many of you are aware of the restrictions that have been put in place to limit the public’s movement and contact between people until December 1, 2020.
Restaurants and bars are closed nationwide. Non-essential shops are closed, including gyms, cinemas, and salons. Parks, though, remain open.
All schools from kindergarten to high school have remained open during this France lockdown. Masks are required for all children over the age of 6.
When we leave our homes for one of the official reasons (more on that below), we need a special form (paper or digital on our phone) each time that has our name, address, reason for being out, and the time of day — just like the first lockdown. A mask is required everywhere, even outdoors.
Currently, the France lockdown rules are as follows.
What we CAN do during the France lockdown:
-Go to work and university classes and bring children to/from school (working from home is encouraged wherever possible).
-Go out for essential purchases such as groceries, including the bakery, which is considered essential.
-Attend important medical appointments that can’t be done over video conference and to purchase medication at the pharmacy.
–Assist an elderly family member, a handicapped person, or leave your home for childcare reasons.
-Get out for fresh air, exercise, or to walk a pet for a maximum of 1 hour per day no more than 1 km from the home.
-Go to a court appearance or administrative appointment.
-Participate in a mission of general interest upon request from an administrative authority (no idea what this is exactly but it’s one of the official reasons we can be out).
Other than the specific reasons above, we’re expected to stay home.
What we CANNOT do during the France lockdown:
-Go to a friend or family member’s house to visit and socialize (even within the 1-km limit)
-Eat at a restaurant
–Shop at a store
-Grab a drink at a bar or a coffee at a café
–Hang out at the park or walk around town all afternoon
-Go out for a scenic drive.
–Travel between different parts of France for leisure
-Exercise or walk with people during that 1 hour of daily outdoor time who are not a part of your household.
How is the France lockdown going in practice?
Out where I live in the Maine-et-Loire, so not Paris or a big city, there’s been very little enforcement of the rules by the police. It feels like Lockdown Lite in a way. Last lockdown, I saw sporadic police checks when out with my dog, but this time around I haven’t seen a single one. Lots of people are out and about on the street — maybe for legit reasons and respectful of the 1-hour limit and maybe not. If I didn’t know we were under lockdown, I’d have no idea by looking at the amount of people and cars out on the road.
Without any type of enforcement of the rules, they’re there for people to abuse. I’ve also seen people out and about in public without any mask at all. I feel like there would be more adherence if people saw there were consequences for ignoring the rules.
Speaking of consequences, the fine is 135 € for non-compliance and that fine is even higher for repeat offenders. That said, I haven’t seen or heard of anyone local being fined. Are the rules being strictly enforced where you live?
President Macron said in his speech to the nation a couple of weeks ago that the government would reassess the France lockdown measures mid-month, so last night Prime Minister Jean Castex addressed the nation. Restrictions will be staying in place as-is until December 1, 2020. According to the WHO, new coronavirus cases in France are continuing to rise with nearly 42,000 people dead since this all started, so it’s clear why the stringent measures are staying in place.
How is the lockdown going personally?
We are OK. Tom can’t work from home so he’s been going to work daily since the second France lockdown began. He has his own office and can shut the door, so it’s relatively safe. Some of his co-workers’ kids currently have the virus so their parents are quarantining.
We’ve been coping by ordering a lot of takeout from local restaurants that are trying to hang on financially. Many have adapted by offering special weekly menus, including an excellent gastronomic restaurant nearby where you can order via FB or email and then pick up your food in the evening. I never feel like cooking and that feeling has been amplified even more lately.
My daily routine is more or less the same and Dagny delights in her walks to the park, completely unaware that anything has changed. Ahhh, a dog’s life.
With everything going on, I’ve felt major physical anxiety nearly daily, at least for part of the day. Distractions help. It’s not just the pandemic. It’s the pandemic starting you out on a foundation of stress and everything else going on in life building on top of that already cracked foundation.
I feel like I can’t breathe in quite deeply enough, like I need to stretch my lungs. Then there’s the pressure and discomfort in the center of my chest which is like an annoying friend who you just can’t get a break from. I’ve never been an anxious person and mentally I feel fine most of the time, but the body often does its own thing. I cling to my workout routine now more than ever to maintain a sense of normalcy and get that endorphin rush. I’m lucky I enjoy working out at home and am motivated to do it. Yay Peloton.
Cozy is the name of the game for me, even more than usual, and I take comfort in soft blankets and socks, dim lighting, and twinkle lights. Self-care is a priority and will be for a while. I feel like we’ve all lost time and I know it’s fall, but at the same time, it’s shocking that it’s fall.
Where has this year gone? How can we best use our time in lockdown?
For those of us who live abroad, the holidays can be particularly difficult especially if we’re not able to see friends and family. This year, it’s a sad reality for many of us. While of course things could be worse and I’m extremely grateful that I have a loving spouse, family and friends just a Facetime tap away, food to eat, and a roof over my head, it’s really hard to grapple with the fact that the holiday period will be more difficult than usual this year.
We won’t be able to have the special Thanksgiving meal we’d planned on with my in-laws who live 45 minutes away, something I was looking forward to given the fact we aren’t going to Florida this year.
So yes, it could be worse — I don’t live in a war zone — but at the same time, whatever you’re feeling is valid and OK. We don’t need to push our feelings aside just because other people have it worse. It’s normal to be sad and frustrated with the state of the world right now. It’s OK to be emotional. Your feelings are yours and they are valid, whatever they are. Be kind to yourself.We don't need to push our feelings aside just because other people have it worse. It's normal to be sad and frustrated with the state of the world right now. It's OK to be emotional. Your feelings are yours and they are valid, whatever they are.Click To Tweet
Regarding the state of the lockdown, I think we all need to do our part to abide by the rules so this virus can get under control. I have been respecting what the government has asked of us even if it’s annoying and inconvenient at times. The truth here is the sooner we can get back to normal, the better off we’ll all collectively be.
Regardless of your political stance or views on the virus or masks, I think we can all agree on the fact that we don’t want to be sick ourselves or see our loved ones suffer from illness, financial issues, stress, or anything else this pandemic has caused. No one wants to feel fearful or angry and we want the global economy to flourish. We are all on the same team here.
Here’s to hoping we get there together sooner rather than later…
How are you coping with the France lockdown?
On a positive note, head over to this post to read about the pandemic’s silver lining for some of my readers.
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