Companies: new health regulations as of September 1

Due to the covid-19 crisis, read more about the new health measures implemented in French companies.

Companies: new health regulations as of September 1

03 Sep 2020


Due to the health crisis, most companies are forced to organize and adapt to the social distancing gestures.

Since September 1st, the French government has published a new “national protocol to ensure the health and safety of employees in companies in the face of the Covid-19 epidemic” immediately applicable in all companies. This document imposes in particular the wearing of masks in the workplace. However, derogations are possible.

It is necessary to keep in mind that the wearing of the mask does not exempt from respecting the other sanitary measures such as regular hand washing, and to apply, of course, the social distance of a minimum of one meter between each person.

An obligatory mask…

As of Tuesday, September 1, the permanent wearing of masks becomes mandatory for all employees, in all closed and shared spaces (open spaces, meeting rooms, corridors, changing rooms, cafeterias, etc.). However, it is not necessary in individual offices.

Important: it is up to the employer to provide the masks to its employees.

Depending on the color of the zones in which the company is located (green, orange or red), the company may make changes to these rules.

As a reminder, the green zones, with low circulation of the virus, correspond to zones where the incidence rate per 100,000 inhabitants is less than or equal to 10. Orange areas, where the virus circulates in a “moderate” way, have an incidence rate ranging from 11 to 50. And finally, areas are classified as red when the virus is “actively” circulating (incidence rate above 50). This incidence rate is valid for 7 days and can be viewed at www.santepubliquefrance.fr.

In the green zones, the wearing of a mask may not be mandatory if the following four conditions are met:

  • the company has a functional ventilation or venting system with a maintenance contract ;
  • the workstations are separated by protective screens;
  • visors are provided to employees;
  • the company implements a prevention policy with, in particular, the appointment of a Covid-19 referent and a procedure for the rapid management of symptomatic people.

As regards the orange zones, employees are exempted from wearing a mask permanently if these four conditions are met, but only in “large volume premises”, premises with high air extraction.

Finally, for companies located in red zones, employees may be exempted from wearing masks permanently if the above conditions for the orange zone are met and only in premises with mechanical ventilation and guaranteeing a 4 m2 space for people (e.g. less than 25 people in a 100 m2 space).

According to the protocol, certain activities may benefit from exemptions, for example in workshops, where employees are exempted from wearing masks. These activities meet the following conditions :

  • the ventilation or functional aeration complies with the regulations;
  • the number of people present in the work area is limited;
  • employees wear a visor; and they respect “the greatest possible distance” between them, including when moving around.

In addition, for employees who work outside, masks must only be worn:

  • in the case of a grouping ;
  • or if they are unable to keep a distance of one meter between people.

Wearing a mask is absolutely mandatory in all establishments open to the public (hotels, restaurants, cinemas, all shops, covered markets or banks)

Cabinet Roche & Cie, English speaking accountant in Lyon, France.
Specialist in Real-Estate and Non-resident taxation.