Cannes Film Fest 2021: French Quarantine Rules Present Obstacles for U.K. Attendees

Amid growing fears of the Indian COVID-19 strain, new rules would require U.K. visitors to undertake seven days of obligatory self-isolation.

Plans for the British film industry to attend year’s Cannes Film Fest have been dealt a major blow after French authorities imposed a new seven-day quarantine on people arriving from the U.K.

The decision was made on Wednesday amid growing fears over the so-called Indian COVID-19 strain, which has surged in the U.K. despite the country’s successful vaccination program. Last week, the U.K. had recorded 3,424 cases of the new variant, up by 2,111 from the previous week.

The details of the travel restrictions — which come into force on May 31 — were confirmed by European affairs minister Clement Beaune, who said that visitors to France from the U.K. would be required to undertake seven days of obligatory self-isolation, alongside a negative PCR or antibody test taken within 48 hours of departure. Non-French or non-resident visitors will have to demonstrate “compelling reasons” for entering the country.

Last week, Germany imposed similar new rules, requiring a two-week quarantine on U.K. arrivals, while Austria has banned direct U.K. flights from June 1.

The exclusion of the U.K. industry from Cannes would be a blow for the Cannes film market, with the country being the third biggest in terms of attendees in 2019 behind the U.S. and France.

Currently, visitors from the US require a special exemption to enter France and need to self-isolate for seven days after arrival. Only those within the European Union can travel freely to France, with no quarantine required, though a negative PCR test is a condition of entry.

Cannes is still planning to hold an in-person festival and film market between July 6-17 this year.

“We are in day-to-day conversation with the relevant government authorities to find the best option for the festival,” a Cannes spokesperson said. “At this time we cannot give any details about the measures that will be in place in July, but we are confident that we will be able to communicate about this early in June.”