Today marked the beginning of the second phase of easing lockdown rules in France, after a first set of measures were removed on 11th May. The changes including the re-opening of cafeterias and restaurants in designating green zones, areas with minimal numbers of active cases. Parks and restaurant terraces alone will reopen in Paris, which is considered an orange zone, and restrictions will be lifted on travel beyond the current 100km-radius restriction.
“Freedom will finally become the rule and constraint the exception,” announced Prime Minister Édouard Philippe.
So far, more than 28,000 people have died in France as a result of Covid-19, although the toll’s climb has slowed significantly in the past few weeks. The hospital death toll from the virus rose by 31 on Monday to 18,506. This was the 12th consecutive day with ‘only’ double digit deaths.
The number of coronavirus-infected patients in intensive care (1,302 on Monday) has returned nearly to levels last seen around mid-march.
Positively, there are no more red zones, that is those areas with a high circulation of cases. These were largely focused in the North East, including Paris.
What changes today
Cafés, bars and restaurants are opening again as from today, but tables need to be spaced at least one metre apart, in the green zones. In the orange zones, only outdoor terraces will be available, with the Parisian authorities allowing businesses to encroach on sidewalks, streets and parking spaces accordingly.
Most schools have began re-opening their doors, but a strict health protocol in place means that the number of students on any given day remains considerably limited.
The national railway services, SNCF, will resume full operations from mid-month, with the need to leave empty seats between passenger being dropped. Public transportation in the dense and still orange greater Paris area remains restricted during the rush hour, until “at least June 22”, to passengers with a certificate from their employers justifying travel.
Gatherings of more than 10 people remain in public spaces remain unauthorised.
Meanwhile, Government has confirmed that the StopCovid contact tracing application will be available as from today. The bluetooth-based app will allow users to be informed if they have been in close and sustained contact (less than one metre for more than 15 minutes) with someone infected by coronavirus.
Swimming pools, gyms, amusement parks, theatres and concert halls are allowed to reopen as from today in green zones and from June 22 in orange zones.
Cinemas will be back to screening movies from 22nd June.
Read more via France 24