France Tightens Border Restrictions, Bans Arrivals in Overseas Territories

view of St Barths Bucket Regattaon

If you've been dreaming of a trip to France, you may have to reconsider your destination, as the French government recently banned entry to all nonessential travelers from outside the European Union. This includes the U.K., no longer part of the EU, according to the BBC.

Meanwhile, those arriving in France from inside the EU will be required to present proof of a negative PCR test.

Several countries — Australia, South Korea, New Zealand, and Singapore, among others — are excluded, as they're not considered high risk, the BCC reported.

The new restrictions also stretch to France's overseas territories, including in the Caribbean and French Polynesia. Releasing a statement on Monday, Feb. 1, French Polynesia was the first to announce that it was temporarily closing its borders until further notice.

Over in the Caribbean, St. Barts, St. Martin, Martinique, and Guadeloupe have announced what measures they will take in order to comply with the French government's new requirements. It's all part of a new effort to reduce the chances of importing and spreading new strains of the virus that seem to be popping up all around the world.

"Independently of the will of our local authorities to keep St. Barts open, the French government has just decided to put in place new preventative measures against COVID-19 variants," Nils Dufau, president of St. Barts' tourism board, wrote in a statement.

Travelers who are still on the islands will be allowed to leave if they choose, but at this point, it is unclear when these restrictions will be lifted. Those traveling for a serious personal or family-related matter, or an emergency health situation, may be considered to enter the islands.

"We are right now negotiating to ease the entry restriction and find an alternative solution. Our aim is to reopen the island's borders as soon as possible," Dufau said.

Jessica Poitevien is a Travel Leisure contributor currently based in South Florida, but always on the lookout for the next adventure. Besides traveling, she loves baking, talking to strangers, and taking long walks on the beach. Follow her adventures on Instagram.

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