France and our neighbouring countries Switzerland and Italy are cautiously entering a welcomed phase of de-confinement. You can see how we feel about this in our latest blog…
Europe is making a concerted effort to adopt a unified approach to de-confinement, however there are differences between countries. And as the Tour Du Mont Blanc, one of our most popular treks, runs high up in the mountains of all three countries, we thought it might be helpful for you to have the facts of what de-confinement means for each country.
From the 11th May:
• We will be allowed to roam freely within 100km of home. This will be fantastic as it means that we can reach the heights of the mountains again, which is definitely a treat worth waiting for!
• We no longer need papers to go outside
• We can gather in groups of up to 10 people (imagine being able to say “hi” to your neighbours properly and pop in to see a family member that lives in a different house!)
• All shops will be opening their doors again
• Schools will open
• Public transport will run much more frequently
• Small public offices, museums etc can re-open with less than 10 people at one time inside
• Restaurants, bars, cinemas, hotels will remain closed until the next announcement
All of this is being done very cautiously. Everyone is being encouraged to wear a mask and it’s obligatory for people who work with the general public. Social distancing as per the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendations must be respected and the general feeling is cautiously optimistic.
Everything will be monitored and another announcement will be made on the 2nd June. This announcement will indicate what is happening with travel on a larger scale.
The majority of people who come to trek with us fly into Geneva, so what is happening in Switzerland is obviously important to you. Geneva is an hours drive from Chamonix Mont Blanc and the border to Switzerland is about 45 minutes away.
Switzerland, as you can see is ahead of the curve of most countries with virus and began its measured de-confinement on 27th April. Since then hairdressers, beauticians, DIY stores and garden centres have been open. And non-essential hospital and outpatient appointments have been happening. All of this has been done using the WHO prescribed social distancing measures.
• Schools are opening
• All shops, museums and libraries will open
• Public transport will resume their regular timetables
• Bars and restaurants will open with a max of 4 people per group
• Training sessions will be allowed for popular and competitive sport
• There will be a gradual lifting on the restrictions of flights to-and-from Switzerland. At the moment only those entering the country for professional reasons and those transiting through, can enter.
There are however, no public gatherings allowed until June 2nd, when small gatherings may take place as well as:
• Professional sports
• Colleges and Universities
• Theatres/cinemas etc open
• Zoo’s, botanical gardens and swimming pools may be enjoyed
• Mountain transport services will resume
On May 4th Italy began lifting the lockdown it imposed on March 9th to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Italy was extremely hard hit by the virus and is now very cautious in its de-confinement. Everything it is doing is strictly following the WHO’s social distancing advice.
• 4.5 million people returned to work
• Restaurants, part of the fabric of life in Italy, began to provide take-away meals
• Everyone can travel around their region – a welcome relief from having been restricted to 200m away from home
• Self-certification documents stating why you are out must still be used
• Parks have re-opened, with social distancing
• Masks must be worn in public places and on mass transport, where the number of passengers is limited
• Individual athletes have resumed training and people can do sports and from the 18th May sports teams will also be able to hold group training
• Hairdressers, beauty salons, bars and restaurants are expected to reopen for dine-in service from 1st June
• Some shops have already opened, but the majority will have to wait until 18th May along with museums and libraries
As you can see, all three countries have adopted a gradual approach and are waiting to ensure that the measures they have taken are sufficient, before looking at a wider vision of life post lockdown. The next phase of each country should include more advice on international travel and we will update you as soon as it happens.
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.
Here is a roundup of the most up-to-date travel restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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 popup: yes.
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