Travel to France may soon be an option for Americans who have received their COVID-19 vaccines.
Speaking Sunday on Face the Nation, French President Emmanuel Macron said restrictions could begin to be lifted in May.
“We will progressively lift the restrictions at the beginning of May, which means that we will organize in the summertime with our professionals in France for French European citizens, but as well for American citizens,” Macron said.
France is currently experiencing its third national lockdown because of the pandemic. The severe steps include a ban on gatherings, the closure of schools, and an extreme limit on travel.
“If we are choosing to close down the whole country, it’s because no area of the country is spared,” Macron said on March 31 when the latest lockdown began. “Everywhere the virus is spreading faster and faster, and everywhere hospitalizations are rising.”
Americans have not been allowed in the country for almost a year. But that is on the verge of ending.
“We are working hard to propose a very concrete solution,” Macron said.
France’s death toll from the virus has surpassed 100,000 people, and the country has experienced more than 5.3 million confirmed cases. Numbers have been increasing in recent weeks due to new coronavirus variants, Macron said.
Despite that, he is optimistic that Americans will be welcomed back in a matter of weeks.
“Our ministers in charge are finalizing the technical discussions,” he said. “In terms of method, in fact, we are building a European certificate to facilitate the travels.”
When it comes to Americans specifically, Macron said the idea is to welcome anyone who has been fully vaccinated, with details still to be ironed out. He said French officials have been in discussions with White House officials.
“The idea is indeed to always control the virus, to maximize the vaccination, and to progressively lift the restrictions.”
Vaccines have been harder to come by in France and much of Europe, causing travel bans to remain in place for most locales. There have been a few exceptions, with Greece opening its borders next month and Iceland now open to vaccinated Americans.
Macron said while Europe’s COVID numbers have looked better in recent weeks, that won’t be enough to end the pandemic.
“It is not sufficient just to be focused on the rich countries,” he said, noting that France is setting aside some of its supply to give to nations in Africa.
“If we don’t vaccinate in these countries, there is no way to get rid of the virus,” he said, acknowledging that if COVID vaccines are not made readily available in South and Latin America and Africa, more and more people will become infected. “You will have new variants and they will come back in our countries.”
Thankfully, as of today, all adults in the U.S. are vaccine eligible. If you’re fully vaccinated or will be soon and are considering a trip to Paris or beyond, consider all our French travel advice here, plus a Paris resident’s 9 Ways To Avoid Looking Like A Tourist In France and Oui! Air France Announces Non-Stop Flights From Denver To Paris.