France – Update on measures to limit the spread of COVID-19


La Poste, asks us to inform other Union member countries and their designated operators that the French Government has reinforced the measures in place to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The entire population is required to remain at home and to limit social contact and movement within France to a strict minimum.

These provisions have been in place since 16 March 2020 and were extended until 11 May 2020 by the President of France in a televised address on 13 April 2020.

These measures have an impact on postal services and La Poste is no longer able to maintain the delivery standards applicable under UPU provisions (i.e. delivery lead times, the quality of service link to terminal dues, performance assessment with regard to parcel post services, performance indicators with regard to tracked letter-post items and EMS, and other quality of service assessment parameters). La Poste is therefore declaring a situation of force majeure with regard to all of these standards and, in particular, with regard to the link between quality of service (including the QS Link) and remuneration. The suspension of penalties under the Pay-for-Performance system has been unanimously approved by the EMS Cooperative.

Outbound mail                                                   

La Poste acknowledges the official requests, submitted by means of EmIS messages, of designated operators requesting the suspension of mail dispatches to their countries. It has taken appropriate measures within its network and is declaring a case of force majeure, with immediate effect, relative to the sending of mail dispatches to the Union member countries concerned.

Owing to the suspension of numerous flights and the resulting reduction in air transport capacity, La Poste currently has limited capacity to send outbound mail (letter-post, parcel-post and EMS items) to certain Union member countries. It is therefore invoking a situation of force majeure for letter post and parcel post and ceasing to accept mail (letter-post, parcel-post and EMS items) destined for these Union member countries, until the countries concerned reopen their networks and are once again able to accept international mail.

Inbound mail

La Poste kindly requests that other postal operators relay the following information to their customers, asking them to defer the sending of any non-urgent mail items destined for France.

La Poste will be unable to accept the following letter-post items until further notice:

– non-priority mail (categories B and C);

– dispatches sent by rail or sea;

– M bags, returned mail and international business reply service (IBRS) items.

For storage reasons, please limit as far as possible the sending of:

– small packet letter-post items;

– bulky parcels exceeding 15 kg in weight and whose longest dimension exceeds 1 m and/or whose three dimensions combined exceed 1.5 m (i.e. L+W+H  must be less than 150 cm).

Operators in doubt about operational aspects are requested to contact La Poste.


Owing to reduced transport capacity and the volume of accumulated mail at its offices of exchange resulting from shipment delays, La Poste is currently unable to offer transit services. Therefore, international mail in transit à découvert and closed dispatches is no longer authorized.

All of these international restrictions (outbound, inbound and transit) on postal traffic and products also apply with regard to the French overseas departments. However, La Poste continues to provide continuity of service between the French overseas departments and mainland France.

Postal and delivery network

La Poste wishes to inform its partners that operations continue, in degraded mode, within its network and national and international operational centres. However, given the reduced workforce owing to the closure of schools and measures taken to ensure the safety of personnel, La Poste can no longer guarantee the following:

1  For all letter-post, parcel-post and EMS items:

– delivery lead times;

– delivery to the addressee in person and collection of signatures on delivery.

For these items, La Poste has modified the handover procedure in accordance with the directives issued by the French Government, with effect from 16 March 2020, as below:

  • La Poste no longer collects the recipient's signature for registered items, postal parcels and EMS items;
  • As La Poste has undertaken to deliver these items to its customers, other proof of delivery methods have been implemented, using various sources of confirmation of delivery.

2  For registered letters, tracked small packets with or without signature, and parcels:

– delivery of bulky parcels exceeding 15 kg in weight and whose longest dimension exceeds 1 m and/or whose three dimensions combined exceed 1.5 m (i.e. L+W+H  over 150 cm), until social distancing measures have been lifted (in particular, the minimum distance of 1 m between two people); wherever possible, parcels should be sent in a format not exceeding 32×24×24 cm, as these can be deposited directly in mailboxes, thus avoiding direct contact;

– tracking of mail items (scanning and shipment lead times);

– insured items.

Post office opening hours have been modified, and there will be a gradual reopening of many post offices that had closed.

All support services are also affected and delays in processing inquiries and invoices are to be expected.

La Poste thanks all Union member countries and their designated operators for their understanding, and will update them via EmIS once the situation has returned to normal.