UPDATE, MARCH 26, 2020: Effective on March 20, French authorities have banned all water-based leisure activity from internal and territorial waters of the Mediterranean Sea. The regulations remain in effect due to COVID-19 concerns. The full text is available for download. Furthermore, if crewmembers need to move about within France, they must carry a physical copy of a filled-in derogatory trip certificate. No certificates on mobile phones. Also carry a filled-in exemption for professional travel.
UPDATE, MARCH 18, 2020: Within hours of limiting access to the ports, officials changed course. Now, effective through March 31, no nautical activities at all can occur, to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Read on for our original article.
Yachting is not immune to the coronavirus outbreak affecting countries around the world. Over the past month, organizers of several yachting events either have cancelled or postponed them. Now, COVID-19 concerns have shut down eight South of France ports to transient yachts.
The president of the metropolitan region known as Métropole Nice Côte d’Azur issued the declaration on March 13. The eight affected ports are Nice Côte d’Azur, Cros de Cagnes, Saint Laurent du Var, Nice, Beaulieu Plaisance, Beaulieu Fourlis, Eze, Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, and Cap d’Ail. Effective immediately, no megayachts or other pleasurecraft may dock in any of the ports if they lack a mooring contract.
Yachts are not the only prohibited passenger vessels, either. In fact, the metropolitan areas are banning cruise ships due to COVID-19 concerns. Only freight-carrying ships and their accompanying crewmembers are permitted. Officials are further prohibiting fishing other than local fishing.
The declaration remains in effect until further notice. On a related subject, France’s president, Emmanuel Macron, says the country is facing its worst public health crisis in a century.
The World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic last week. In addition, the WHO’s director general says Europe is currently the epidemic’s center. All 27 European Union states have reported cases. Furthermore, Europe has more reported cases and deaths than the rest of the world combined, excepting China.
This is not to say that COVID-19 concerns have only shut down the eight South of France ports mentioned above. It has led to the cancellation of several boat shows and events around the world, for instance. These include the Japan International Boat Show and the Superyacht Experience Palm Beach, the latter one of three Palm Beach shows pulled this month. Organizers of the St. Barths Bucket cancelled it, too. Meanwhile, the Dubai International Boat Show, the Qatar International Boat Show, and San Francisco SailGP are among the events rescheduling for later dates this year.