France - "under control" as freedom returns
France began lifting its lockdown on May 11 and is progressively easing restrictions. The second stage in the process began on June 2, when our cherished restaurants, cafés and bars re-opened – all with the new “standard” social distancing regulations.
Fortunately, the French authorities say that the epidemic remains under control. On May 29th, France’s Public Health agency stated that there were “no signs” of a resurgence in Covid-19 despite the initial easing of lockdown measures. And the head of the Scientific Council, (responsible for advising the French government) stated on June 5th that the virus remained “under control”. The Prime Minister has announced that France is “in a better place than where we expected to be”, but urged people to continue respecting the rules and remain careful and vigilant.
France is maintaining its current level of social distancing, using face masks and continuing the “test, trace, isolate” approach to stamping out the virus’s spread as pioneered by South Korea, with notable success in the early stages of the pandemic.
To ensure everything is closely monitored and remains on track, four potential scenarios for the future were set out by the Scientific Council on June 4th, with practical measures that revolve around identifying pockets of the virus resurgence and acting quickly in those areas to avoid having to re-impose a lockdown. We already have a “traffic light” system in the country and all but one region (around Paris) has moved into green as of the 2nd June.
The Prime Minister has also said that the country’s external borders would remain closed until 15 June, when it is hoped they will re-open to EU nationals in co-ordination with other EU27 states.
Switzerland – Continues Lifting Restrictions
The country has been gradually loosening coronavirus-related restrictions and the “extraordinary situation” will be officially lifted on June 19.
Events of up to 300 people are permitted from the 6th June, as there have not been any spikes in the virus since gatherings of up to 30 people were allowed from 30th May.
Restaurants have been open with track and trace regulations since the end of May and from the 6th June mountain transport services, zoos, theatres, cinemas, sports events and campgrounds will also re-open.
The government will re-open Swiss borders with all European Union and EFTA countries on the 15th June and a decision on allowing non-European travellers entry into the Schengen Zone will be made on July 6.
Italy "We deserve to smile, to be cheerful, after weeks of great sacrifice"
Was the message delivered by Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on 3rd June as the country moved to its final stage in easing lockdown restrictions. Shops, cafes and restaurants had already opened their doors again, and tourist sites have begun welcoming tourists in recent days.
Domestic travel was banned when Italy's lockdown came into effect in early March, tourism was prohibited and those entering Italy faced a 14-day quarantine. But with Wednesday's changes, Italians are now able to move between regions. Travel to and from other European countries is also permitted - depending on the rules in the destination country - but non-European travel remains off-limits until Europe makes its decision on this sometime after the 15th June, but more likely to be the beginning of July.
Safe, Cautious, United
It is great to be able to report that France and our neighbours have not seen any spikes in the virus since restrictions have started to lift. We will keep you informed of any changes and are currently looking forward to the travel announcements due to be made on the 15th June.
Please get in touch if you have any questions regarding trekking in the mountains. We will ensure that we keep you posted on what it's like over here and here are some updated resources to help you make informed decisions about future travel plans.
We recommend your own government’s travel advisory service information for your destination country:
UK, the FCO Travel Advice
Ireland, the Department of Foreign Affairs
USA, the State Department Travel Advisory
Canada, use Travel Advice & Advisories
Australia, the Smart Traveller Information Service
New Zealand, it’s SafeTravel.
Further details of our how we are protecting you and your booking see here: Coronavirus Client Protection
As ever, if you have any questions about your trip or our treks in general, we are here to help. Please give us a call or email us.
Jane at Mont Blanc Treks
UK: +44 (0)161 408 1222
FRANCE: +33 (0)7 81 58 69 03
USA: +1 303 800 5866
AUSTRALIA: +61 75660 6258