COVID-19 Restrictions for On-Site Experiments at the ESRF


COVID-19 Restrictions for On-Site Experiments at the ESRF

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1. Latest COVID-19 restrictions in France (31 January 2021)

- Created : 14th January : restrictions for travel to and from non-European area countries - PCR test and quarantine required; curfew in place in France (18h - 6h)
- Update : 25th January : restrictions for travel to and from European area countries - PCR test required
- Latest update : 31st January : restrictions for travel to and from European area countries - PCR test also required for ground transport
; restrictions for travel to and from non-European area countries - travel is NOT allowed except for compelling reasons

National, local and travel restrictions are constantly evolving so please ensure you are aware of the restrictions in place in France and in the Grenoble area at your time of travel, and ensure you are able to provide the correct paperwork and test results if required.

On the web page of the European and Foreign Affairs Ministry, the "European area" is stipulated as including all EU member states, Schengen countries, Andorra, Vatican City, Saint-Marino, and Monaco.

Following the latest announcement by the French government on 29th January, and the subsequent implementation on 31st January,

Restrictions for travelling to France from a non "European area" country

Travel to France from a non-European area country is forbidden, except for certain urgent and compelling reasons ("motif impérieux") of a family/personal, medical or professional nature. In such cases, people travelling to France from a non-European area country must :

  1. Complete, sign and provide the appropriate declarations as described here, and provide the associated justifying documents attesting to the important and urgent nature of the travel.
  2. Show a negative PCR test before travelling, AND
  3. Self-isolate for 7 days on arrival in France, AND
  4. Then take a second PCR test after those 7 days before being allowed to circulate freely.

Restrictions for travelling to France from a "European area" country

Travel to France from a European area country is not advised unless absolutely necessary. People travelling to France from a European area country must show a negative PCR test, taken within 72h of travel, to the French authorities on arrival in France. All types of travel are concerned (air, train, bus, car, sea).

A quarantine period is not obligatory for travellers from a European area country, except in the case of travel outside of the European area in the month before arrival in France, although a 7-day period of self-confinement followed by a second PCR test is strongly encouraged.

Proof of essential travel is not necessary, but we still advise you to bring your experiment invitation with you.

In addition, please remember though to ensure you complete any obligatory travel documents required by the French authorities and the airline companies.


A nightly curfew is currently in place in France from 6pm to 6am : users who will travel in these hours must ensure they carry with them a completed exemption certificate as well as written proof of their experiment invitation and their travel tickets.

During curfew hours while staying at the Guesthouse, users must not leave the site for any other reason than one of the reasons stated on the exemption certificate. If the curfew is not respected, a fine of 135€ will be imposed by the French authorities. Outside of the curfew hours users can leave the site and move around freely in the Grenoble area.

More information on restrictions in France is available here.

More information on restrictions for travelling to France is available here (in English - not always up-to-date, check date of last update on the page) and here (in French, normally up-to-date).

2. Resulting ESRF restrictions

Until the current restrictions from the French Government are lifted, it is unfortunately no longer possible for users whose laboratories are in countries outside of the European area to come to the ESRF site for an experiment (ESRF member country states particularly affected are UK, Russia, Israel, South Africa and India). The onsite Guesthouse cannot be used for quarantine purposes.

Please note that intended beamtime for experiments impacted by these restrictions will not be lost. If the experiment permits, it will be carried out remotely, otherwise it will be postponed until users are able to come on site.

Users coming from within the European area may still come to the ESRF for experiments, but must be able to show a negative PCR test, taken within 72h of travel, to the French authorities on arrival in the country, and must absolutely restrict their movements onsite and not leave the site unless absolutely necessary (e.g. medical emergency, travel to/from home lab).

In general, for the coming run (Jan-March),

  • Remote experiments should be carried out whenever possible;
  • When user presence on site is required, one single onsite user per experiment is allowed, with the rest of the team joining and participating remotely.

We will be very happy to welcome users back on site, but strict hygiene and social distancing measures remain in place and we kindly ask for your cooperation in respecting these rules before, during and after your visit.

Users should ensure that any formalities are completed in a timely fashion to allow them to arrive on the ESRF site in time for their experiment.

3. Travelling back to your home country

Users are responsible for checking restrictions related to their travel back to their home country. This includes checking the necessity to quarantine, to present a negative COVID-19 test, to complete obligatory travel documents required by the authorities of the user home country and the airline companies.

4. Useful information concerning PCR and antigen tests

Antigen tests

If needed, users can get an antigen test done free of charge on the EPN site by our Medical Service, during working hours (8am to 11am and 1:15pm to 4pm on week days). Please ask your local contact for the telephone number of the Medical Service so you can make an appointment with the works Doctor.

PCR tests

The ESRF cannot provide PCR tests on site. There are multiple laboratories in Grenoble where users can get a PCR test done ( The closest one to the ESRF is:

Oriade Noviale Berriat
Tram stop Saint Bruno on tram B, just before the train station.
Open from 9:30am to 11am and from 2pm tp 5pm on Monday to Friday
   and from 8:30am to 11am on Saturdays.

It is not necessary to make an appointment in this laboratory prior to the visit, but waiting times may be long so you are encouraged not to wait until the last minute.

Tests can be done without a French social security card and without a doctor's prescription. However, in this case, the test will cost around 65 €. ESRF reimbursed users may request an ESRF contribution for the cost of a PCR test up to a limit of 70 € per test by filling in a reimbursement claim and providing an invoice or receipt. The test must be directly related to onsite presence for a user experiment.

The results of the PCR test should be provided by the laboratory within 24 hours. Users will have to communicate their mobile phone number to the laboratory to be able to access their results using the link sent to them by text message.

5. Information for onsite users

Please find updated information here.