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


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

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- Update: 16th July: the lockdown restrictions in place between 3rd May-8th June have been lifted- please read the information below carefully to see which countries are concerned.
- 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)

1. Latest COVID-19 restrictions at the ESRF (9th June 2021)

The lockdown restrictions imposed between 3rd May and 8th June have been lifted on Wednesday 9th June; external users are allowed back on the ESRF site within the limitations described below.

New travel rules in place are now set up based on country color code, vaccination status and a list of essential reasons, please Section 2 for more details.

Based on the eligibility of travelers set by the French authorities via these travel rules, users eligible to travel to France will be able to come to the ESRF to perform their experiments. However, should the users fall into the category requiring a quarantine period upon arrival, the responsibility of its organisation and financing will remain on the user and the ESRF reservers the right to request a proof of the arrangements made by the users.

For user teams unable to travel to France under these new rules: Please note that intended beamtime for experiments impacted by these restrictions will not be lost if it can be taken before the end of the 2021 operation year (by end of February 2022). If the experiment permits, it should be carried out remotely, otherwise it will be postponed until later in 2021 if users are able to come on site by then. If there is a chance that the beam time cannot be used before the end of February 2022, users will have to reapply for beam time at the 10th September 2021 proposal submission deadline.

Operation conditions for Run 5 (26th October-14th December):

  • For Structural Biology experiments on MX beamlines and on the Cryo-EM, as well as non-Structural Biology experiments, users are welcomed back on site to carry out their experiments. Whether the experiment should be carried out remotely or with onsite users (or in a mixed mode) must be discussed and agreed with the Local Contact, taking into account available ESRF manpower resources and any travel restrictions applying to members of the user team.

In all cases, the maximum limit of users/staff allowed in a beamline hutch at any time must be respected at all times.

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.

2. Latest COVID-19 restrictions in France (29th November 2021)

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.

Travel to France is now subject to varying restrictions, based on the intensity of variants circulating in the regions, your vaccination status and the need for an essential reason in some cases. You can find a summary of these restrictions in the following table as well as the government's official press release available here.

Please note that from August 9th, the 'pass sanitaire' (proof of vaccination/negative PCR test or proof of recent recovery from COVID) will be mandatory in France to enter public places such as cafés, restaurants, commercial centers as well as for long-distance travel within France by train, plane and bus. More information and details on the pass and its restrictions can be found on the government's COVID dedicated webpage.Covid restrictions by country -Final - JPEG-1.jpg

Please note that in the case of a traveler being vaccinated, the following rules apply in order for this status to be fully eligible for entry:

Vaccines accepted by France are those recognised by the European Medecines Agency (EMA): Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca/ Vaxzevria/Covishield and Johnson & Johnson.

Proof of vaccination is only valid provided that it attests to complete vaccination:

  • 7 days after second dose (Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca)
  • 7 days after first dose and you previously had COVID-19 (Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca)
  • 28 days after single dose (Johnson & Johnson)

Restrictions for travelling to France from a non "European area" country (Orange and Red categories)

Users coming from a country listed in the orange category (India, United Kingdom, United States and any other countries not listed as green nor red) can only come to France under the following rules:

  • Being vaccinated with an European agency approved vaccine as listed above
  • If not vaccinated, having a compelling reason (from the authorised orange countries official list) as well as a negative PCR/antigen test (please check the possibility and restrictions based on the country of origin). If not vaccinated, you will be subject to a 7 day self-isolation period.

Users coming from a country listed in the red category (Afghanistan, Belarus, Botswana, Brazil, Costa Rica, Cuba, Eswatini, Georgia, Lesotho,  Iran, Moldavia, Montenegro, Namibia, Pakistan, Russia, South Africa, Suriname, Turkey, Ukraine, Zimbabwe) can only come to France if fully vaccinated with the approved vaccines listed above as well as certain urgent and compelling reasons ('motif impérieux') of a family/personal, medical or professional nature (Land, sea, air transport sector workers or transport service providers) if not vaccinated.

Based on eligibility status, travelers are subject to various test and quarantine requirements as described in the table linked above.

Restrictions for travelling to France from a "European area" country as well as Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Hong Kong, Japan, Jordan, Lebanon, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, UAE, Uruguay (Green category)

On the webpage of the European and Foreign Affaires Ministry, the 'European area' is stipulated as including all EU member states, Schengen countries, Andorra, Vatican City, Saint-Marino, and Monaco.

People travelling to France from the above list must show either a proof of the accepted vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson) or a negative PCR or antigen test, taken within 72h of travel before their departure to France. Non-vaccinated visitors from Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, The Netherlands will be required to take a test only within 24h of travel before departure.

All types of travel are concerned (air, train, bus, car, sea).

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

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

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

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 but users would need to bring a proof of ID to the laboratory.

ESRF reimbursed users may request an ESRF contribution for the cost of PCR tests up to a limit of 140 € per reimbursed user per experiment session by filling in a reimbursement claim through SAP Concur and providing an invoice or receipt under the 'miscellaneous' expense option. 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.