Advice

COVID-19 and travel to Morzine, Les Gets or Avoriaz this winter

Image: Jacquie Cutler - @jcutlerphotography

UPDATED 01/12/21 (pm)

On 1st December, the French government announced that a negative PCR or anti-gen test, taken within the preceding 48 hours, is now required to access France if you’re arriving from a non-EU country. This change is effective from Saturday 4th December; a test is required regardless of whether or not you’re fully vaccinated.

On 30th November 2021, the Swiss government changed their directive concerning the arrival of British tourists into Geneva Airport. This change has since been updated on the GOV.uk website HERE. If you are fully vaccinated, it is now possible to land in Geneva without any quarantine requirements and travel on to France for your ski holiday, as long as you cross into France within 24 hours of your arrival in Switzerland. You’re advised to bring along proof of your onward travel (confirmation of a hotel reservation for example) to prove your intention to leave Switzerland. At present, it does not seem that you need to present a negative PCR test on arrival in Geneva but the communications remain slightly unclear on this so we’ve asked for clarification and we’ll report back ASAP.

The French government introduced a number of new measures on 25th November, strengthening the regulations with regards to the spread of COVID-19 in France. Face masks are now required for all indoor spaces (even those covered by a pass sanitaire) and a pass sanitaire is now required to access the ski lifts for everyone aged 12 years and over. As of 1st December 2o21, a face mask is also required in busy outdoor spaces, such as each of the village centres around our valley.

Borders are currently open between the UK and France for those flying to French airports or driving to the Alps but there are lots of regulations, stipulations and declarations. It’s complicated for everyone and there are a huge number of variations depending on your personal circumstances. Here’s what we know about the current travel situation ahead of this winter season and we’ll do our best to keep this page updated, however you should absolutely always check your own personal circumstances against the French Government website and the  UK Government website.

*Another disclaimer! Because the vast majority of our readers are from the UK, we’ve concentrated on travel regs between the UK and France. Unfortunately we can’t keep on top of the regulations from other countries, sorry!

Travelling to France from the UK

The UK is currently on France’s amber list and entry requirements are different depending on whether or not you’re double vaccinated / have UK ‘fully recovered’ status. In either scenario, and as detailed above, you’ll need to produce a negative COVID-19 PCR or anti-gen test taken within the preceding 48 hours to enter France from the UK.

Double Vaccinated:

– The French definition of ‘fully vaccinated’ is two jabs from a list of approved vaccinations. The French Government recognises the following vaccines: Pfizer, Moderna, Oxford/AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson (the vaccines recognised by the European Medical Agency). “Fully vaccinated” is defined by the completion of a vaccination schedule, specifically:

  • 1 week after the second dose of Pfizer, Moderna, Oxford/AstraZeneca
  • 4 weeks after the single and only dose of Johnson & Johnson
  • 1 week after the single dose of any of the above vaccines if you have previously tested positive for COVID-19

– If you’re fully vaccinated, you can travel to France without an ‘essential reason’ and you do not need to isolate on arrival.

– You should also complete a déclaration sur l’honneur to confirm you have no COVID-19 symptoms and that you have not been in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the preceding fortnight.  You can download this form in English HERE.

– You will need to present proof of double vaccination as you leave the UK. France accepts the UK’s NHS COVID pass for travel, if you don’t already have this, learn more HERE.

Not Double Vaccinated:

– Unless you’ve received both jabs as specified above, you are only permitted to travel to France for essential reasons.

– You’ll find the list of essential reasons HERE. Note, that a ski holiday does not constitute an ‘essential reason’.

– You will also need to present an International Travel Certificate.

– You’ll also need to isolate for 7 days after arrival.

– There are a number of other requirements for non-vaccinated travellers arriving in France, you can learn more about them HERE.

Children:

– Children under the age of 12 take on the vaccination status of their parents as they travel from the UK to France.

– Children, whether or not they are vaccinated, are not subject to compelling reasons and quarantine if they are accompanied by a vaccinated adult.

– However, unvaccinated children aged 12 and over must have taken a PCR or antigen test in the past 24 hours before arrival in France. You’ll be asked to produce a negative result as you cross into France. Note that children younger than 12 years do not have to present a test to arrive in France.

– Here in France, children aged 12 and over are not considered to be fully vaccinated until they’ve had two doses of a recognised COVID-19 vaccine. This is an important detail for the Pass Sanitaire, which we explain below.

Travelling from the UK to France via Switzerland

If you’re flying to Geneva Airport (or any other Swiss airport) for your holiday this winter, you’ll be asked to present the Swiss version of a passenger locator form as you check in for your flight. You’ll also be asked to produce confirmation of your onward travel arrangements in France. Our current understanding is that you do not need to present a negative COVID-19 test on arrival in Switzerland, if you are travelling on to France.

You will also be asked to present proof that you’re travelling on to France, rather than remaining in Switzerland, where a 10-day quarantine is currently compulsory for all arrivals from the UK. You should therefore keep confirmation of your accommodation reservation or any other proof handy, in case you’re asked.

The Swiss entry form is very easy to complete, you can do this online HERE.

Rules for re-entering the UK after travel to France (whether directly from France or via Switzerland)

If you’re double-vaccinated, there are a number of things you must do before returning to the UK:

– Book and pay for a day PCR 2 test – this rule was changed on 27/11/21 – the day 2 test MUST now be a PCR rather than an anti-gen test. The UK Government called this a ‘temporary and precautionary measure’ in the face of the new Omicron variant, to be reviewed in three weeks. You must isolate until you receive a negative result from your PCR test.  Note, the day 2 test can be taken at any time after your arrival in the UK, but not after the second day. A number of UK airports now offer a testing service, which you can pre-book and take up when you land.

– You’ll need the unique reference number from this test purchase to enter on your UK passenger locator form

– Complete your UK Passenger Locator Form – you can do this online HERE.

– You’ll produce both your proof of vaccination status and your Passenger Locator Form as you leave France

– On 27/11/21 a new rule was introduced for international arrivals to the UK in response to the Omicron variant. You must now isolate at home until you receive a negative test result from your day 2 test. The UK Government called this a ‘temporary and precautionary measure’ in the face of the new Omicron variant, to be reviewed in three weeks.

– Children of all ages who are resident in the UK do not have to quarantine on arrival in England.

– If they are aged 4 and under they do not have to take any COVID-19 travel tests.

– If they are between 5 to 17 years old they do not have to take a COVID-19 test before travel to England but they must take a day 2 test.

Rules for re-entering the UK after travel to France via Switzerland

The rules state that even if you’re in transit through a Swiss airport, you should still complete the Swiss entry form before travel. You can do this up to 2 days ahead of your journey home HERE.

What is a Pass Sanitaire?

This is France’s digital health passport and it’s currently used to confirm that someone has been double vaccinated against COVID-19. A pass sanitaire is required to access our ski lifts, venues, restaurants, bars, cafes and cinemas here in France.

Masks are required in shared bubble lifts and in lift queues as well as all indoor spaces. You do not need a pass sanitaire to visit shops and supermarkets, but you will need to wear a mask. This is compulsory.

Unvaccinated / not fully vaccinated travellers can also get a pass sanitaire by producing a negative PCR or anti-gen test in resort, at their own cost. On 25th November, the validity of this pass was reduced to just 24 hours (previously 48 hours for anti-gen and 72 hours for PCR tests), which means that unless you’re double vaccinated (under French regs), you’ll need to take a daily test in order to access the pass sanitaire to visit restaurants, bars, etc and to use the ski lifts.

Both anti-gen tests and PCR tests are available in our resorts, with prices for an anti-gen test starting at €30 and results are available within 20 minutes.

NOTE: Testing capacity and actual prices will be confirmed very soon. We know that many of you are concerned about this requirement if you’re travelling with children between 12 and 17 years of old. Bear with us, we’ll have news on this crucial point very soon.

People double vaccinated in the UK can import the NHS QR code confirming their double-vaccinated status into the TousAntiCovid app. You’ll be asked to present this as you access ski lifts, bars, restaurants, cafes and venues. You can also present a digital or paper NHS certificate showing your full vaccine status if for some reason you cannot access the app. NOTE* It’s the vaccination certificate that includes a scannable QR code that you’ll need for both the TousAntiCovid app and to scan on entry to ski lifts, restaurants, bars, etc.

Because a pass sanitaire is only available to those aged 12 and over who have received two vaccinations against COVID-19, and because currently in the UK, children are only receiving one vaccine as part of the vaccination programme, families with children aged 12 and over will need to visit the local chemist daily during their holiday. Under the current regulations, children aged 12 and above would need to take either a PCR test or anti-gen test in resort every 24 hours to reconfirm they don’t have COVID-19 and to ‘top-up’ their pass sanitaire.

If your children aged between 12 and 17 years have received one COVID-19 jab and they’ve also recovered from COVID-19, you can apply for an ‘equivalency certificate’ which can then be used to generate a pass sanitaire for your child. In this instance they would not need to visit the pharmacy daily for tests during their holiday. Find out more about the equivalency certificate and how it can be obtained in advance of your holiday HERE. 

Masks and other in-resort regulations

Further detail on the operation of our ski lifts is expected very soon, however face masks will once again become compulsory in all indoor spaces, even those in which a pass sanitaire is required, which reinstates the rules that we were previously used to. You’ll now need to wear a mask while moving through a venue / restaurant / bar, but not whilst you’re seated, eating or drinking.

Face masks will also become compulsory for large gatherings outdoors, such as Christmas markets, which could also require a health pass. On 1st December, face masks became obligatory in all busy outdoor spaces, including the centres of our villages.

COVID-19 and travel to Morzine, Les Gets or Avoriaz this winter
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