In line with the first phase of the deconfinement, France adopted through Prefectural Decree N° 062 / 2020 of 8 May and Ministerial Decree No. 2020-548 of 11 May 2020, and Monaco through Ministerial Decision N° 8484 of 28 April 2020, new measures within the framework of the gradual resumption of activities to combat the COVID-19 epidemic including for nautical activities.
Restrictions on movements have accordingly started to be lifted from 4 May in Monaco and 11 May in France.
Restrictions are lifted gradually, with in particular the reopening of administrations, shops, schools even though partially in Monaco, places of worship, hairdressers, care centers and take-aways.
On a general basis:
Working from home is still highly recommended when possible. Masks are compulsory in public transports and in closed areas and shops and are highly recommend in open areas. Gatherings of no more than 5 people in Monaco and 10 in France are strictly forbidden. Social distancing measures shall continue to be observed (1,5m in Monaco and 1m in France).
As far as tests are concerned, all Monaco residents have started to be tested in Monaco. In France tests are still reserved to certain categories of people (people who have symptoms, persons identified as having been in contact with a high risk of transmission, with a person who has tested positive, certain groups within the framework of specific screening campaigns (vulnerable persons, residents of group accommodation structures and staff working in these structures in the event of the first case confirmed within the structure)).
Restaurants and casinos may re-open, and some restrictions on the use of beaches may be lifted at the beginning of June depending on how the health crisis evolves.
We understand though that restrictions – albeit much less drastic – would continue to be imposed at least until 2 June, until the first phase of deconfinement. Restrictions will concern in particular travel restrictions.
Until that period it will be forbidden to travel more than 100 kilometers from one’s home within the territory, unless there are compelling reasons of a professional or family nature. However, within this limit it will be possible to move freely without the need to complete a derogatory certificate anymore.
If beaches remain closed at least until beginning of June and international borders until at least July, there starts to be some light at the end of the tunnel for the yachting sector.
First of all access to beaches (like in Nice) for non static activities) and nautical and recreational activities can be authorized by prefect of each Department at the request of mayors (since mayors are liable to regulate activities practiced from the shoreline up to the 300-metre limit), if demonstration is made that sufficient procedures and controls are in place to ensure compliance with the general hygiene and social distancing measures to combat the virus.
For activities which are not prohibited, measures to inform users about social distancing and barrier gestures shall also be posted by the competent authority or responsible person as applicable.
Yards have also started to reopen same as in Italy and Spain, day trips are now allowed and yacht owners living in costal areas shall be able to access their boats.
The new measures announced, which are valid until 2 June, can be summarized as follows:
- Day trips and day charters are authorized in Monaco for yachts berthed in Monaco from 09:00 to 20:00. This measure applies to all vessels, whatever their flag, which have a berth in the Principality at the time of their departure at sea, on an annual or transitory basis.
- No limitation of passengers apply in Monaco as long as the minimum safe manning and number of passengers authorized on the registration documents is respected.
- For the time being yachts moored in Monaco are not allowed in French waters but this might change in June so that the 54 nm limit includes Monaco and French waters.
- Monaco flagged yachts joining their home port or which have left Monaco for more than a day will be placed in quarantine for 14 days.
- If the Prefect of the Department, in which the yacht is located has authorised nautical and recreational activities from such port, the yacht could navigate freely taking into account the applicable local and national regulations. No declaration or derogation request are required anymore.
- On the other hand, the stopping and anchoring of yachts, which are not covered by the principle of freedom of navigation, are subject to a restriction: the calling into, stopping and anchorage of yachts is limited to a radius of 54 nautical miles around their home port, by assimilation with land regulations (100 km). These rules are valid to French and foreign flagged yachts moored in France.
- The embarkation and disembarkation of passengers may only take place in ports to which access has been authorised by the Prefect of the Department and must comply with land-based measures (in particular the 100 km rule from home), or in case of emergency.
- Pleasure yachts registered under French or foreign flag are not allowed to embark more than 10 passengers.
- The possibility to charter if the above measures are respected is not clear.
Measures applicable in both countries:
- Cruise ships and non-regular passenger ships carrying more than 100 passengers remain prohibited from calling in the mainland French ports of the Mediterranean, Atlantic, English Channel and North Sea and in Monaco unless exemption is granted by the competent representative of the State (mainly in case of emergency or for health reasons).
- Calls by foreign vessels with a home port outside Monaco / France and anchorage in French and Monaco waters shall remain suspended. However, simple, direct and continuous transit through territorial waters remains authorised under the right of innocent passage which applies to all vessels.
- Yachts wishing to enter ports when in possession of an annual or seasonal berth reservation shall submit a Declaration of Health (DMS) to the Division of Maritime and Airport Police and a valid Ship Sanitation Exemption Certificate (SSEC) if applicable 48 hours prior to arrival if coming from another country; and lastly be in possession of a derogatory international travel certificate to mainland France or the overseas territories if applicable for the crew joining the yacht. Quarantine will be applied in Monaco and may be applied in France.
- Yachts deciding to leave ports will still not be able to return if they do not hold an annual or seasonal berth contract.
- Yachts can go to shipyards as long as refit/repair/maintenance contracts are signed, are available, a declaration is made to the nearest port authority and Covid 19 recommendations respected.
- As during the lock down the Master shall communicate any change in the healthcare situation on board occurred after the issuance of the Declaration of Health, during the entire stay of the vessel in the port until its departure.
- There should be no disembarkation or embarkation of persons presenting symptoms related to a Coronavirus infection on board a ship at sea cannot be done without the prior agreement of the maritime prefect, the DDG AEM if applicable, and the prefect of the department concerned in France and of the Maritime Police and Covid Centre in Monaco. The conduct adopted with regard to a suspicious case is necessarily the subject of consultation between the competent health and administrative authorities.
So in brief Vessels are still advised to remain in their current port, unless there is a guaranteed (in writing) alternative port entry agreed in advance.
We think the situation would become open to all again including to charterers, when the inter-regional and then international travel restrictions are removed, distancing and protective measures aimed at avoiding the transmission of the virus during nautical practices introduced and guide to good sanitary practices be implemented in marinas available, as the marinas are at the crossroads between transport, tourism and logistics.
We shall know more as soon as the Government lifting conditions have been precised and the maritime prefectures’ decisions taken as regards navigation and nautical activities at regional levels later this month or in June which shall also coincide with the beginning of the second deconfinement phase.
Until then take care, stay safe, and keep strong.
For more information or advice, contact Janet Xanthopoulos, Legal Adviser, Head of Yacht & Jet Ownership & Administration Dpt: firstname.lastname@example.org