The end of lockdown was adopted on May 4th by the French Parliament. A first phase, consisting of an end to lockdown and derogatory certificates, has been implemented since Monday, May 11, followed by a second phase which will come into force on June 2. The members of Parliament have also decided to extend the state of health emergency until July 10th. Starting May 11th, all shops except for cafes and restaurants reopen and it is again possible to move freely without certificate, except for travels more than 100 km away from home, in which case a compelling reason, such as a family or professional justification must exist. A new certificate is therefore available on the website of the Ministry of the Interior for these situations.
Despite the end of the lockdown, employees should continue working remotely as much as possible. If teleworking is not an option, working hours should be adjusted and the workers should be wearing masks at the workplace. The Ministry of Labor has also published a protocol for companies to establish the best practices for each sector (Click here). It includes basic social distancing rules as well as more specific instructions such as the following: A minimum space of 4m² per employee in order to guarantee a minimum distance of 1 meter around each person; Management of the flow of employees when entering and leaving the workplace in order to avoid as much as possible the employees crossing; Assessment of the risks of non-compliance with the social distancing rules; Increase the frequency and level of cleaning of the premises by using appropriate products and paying special attention to certain equipment such as switches, elevators, etc.; And the use of mask only as a last resort in the event where no organizational or technical measures can be implemented; prohibition of screening in companies.
Certain types of face masks and respiratory protection masks that may be used by certain businesses such as construction companies are requisitioned by the Government to ensure their availability as well as priority access to health professionals and patients in the context of the fight against the Covid-19 virus (See here).
The French Ministry of Labor has published a series of Question/Answers to summarize the obligations of employers in the context of the fight against Coronavirus (Click here). It reiterates that the Labor Code requires the employer to take the necessary measures to ensure the safety and health protection of his/her personnel. As such, he/she must carry out an assessment of the professional risk. This assessment must be renewed due to the epidemic to minimize the risk of contagion in the workplace or at work through measures such as prevention actions, information and training actions, in accordance with the instructions of the public authorities. A brochures was also published to specify the employer’s obligations (PDF Here).
On March 25th, a Regulation was adopted to adapt the rules of convocation, information, meeting and deliberation of assemblies and collegiate bodies for the administration, supervision or management of legal persons (See here). This is to enable them to continue to carry out their missions despite the containment measures.
The European Center for Disease Prevention has published a guidance on Social Distancing measures that all individuals are encourage to implement in their daily life. Some of those recommendations may apply to businesses as it regards, for instance, to the restriction of mass gatherings, and stay at home measures (PDF Here). Also, a series of measures have been taken by the European Commission that involves, among other things, temporary restrictions on non-essential travel to the European Union (More info).
Starting March 27th until the end of the emergency situation, the Government has prohibited gas, electricity, and drinking water suppliers from suspending, interrupting or reducing the supply of electricity, gas or water for non-payment to all individuals and legal entities exercising an economic activity affected by the spread of Coronavirus (See here and here).
Occupational health services participate in the fight against the spread of covid-19, in particular by the following: distribution, for the attention of employers and employees, of prevention messages against the risk of contagion; support for companies in the definition and implementation of adequate prevention measures against this risk; and support for companies brought, by the effect of the health crisis, to increase or adapt their activity (See here).
Certain deadlines, suspended since March 12 due to the current state of health emergency, resumed their courses as of April 3, 2020, for reasons relating to security, the protection of health and sanitation and the protection of the environment. This measure mainly covers the deadlines for measures, checks, analyzes and surveillance relating to security, the protection of health and public health and the protection of the environment prescribed by orders and decisions adopted in application of the articles of the Environment Code, the Mining Code and the Energy Code that it lists (More info).
Employers should continue to check with relevant authorities for the latest information:
– Official gazette: https://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/
– Government: https://www.gouvernement.fr/info-coronavirus
– Ministry of Solidarity and Health: https://solidarites-sante.gouv.fr/soins-et-maladies/maladies/maladies-infectieuses/coronavirus/coronavirus-questions-reponses
– Ministry of Labor: https://travail-emploi.gouv.fr/