Fresh restrictions in French cities include ban on parties
New Covid-19 rules come into effect today in Paris and 11 other cities in France considered at “heightened” or “maximum” risk. These rules will remain in effect for 15 days, but will be reviewed after a week. They could be extended. Extra officers are to patrol Paris to enforce the new restrictions and fines given for those who do not comply, the city police chief warned.
All bars must close at 10pm and remain closed until at least 6am. Restaurants can stay open later. On the question of what constitutes a “restaurant” if a bar serves food, the government has said establishments that hold only a licence to sell alcohol without food must close at 10pm. The distinction has been justified by the health authorities on the basis that people in restaurants tend to be seated and distanced. The sale and consumption of alcohol in public places is also banned between the same hours, as is playing music.
From Monday, there is a ban on festive or recreational events including wedding receptions, festivals, organised gatherings in hired halls, and student parties. Cinemas, museums and theatres that have their own strict rules in place can remain open.
From Saturday all gatherings of more than 1,000 people have been banned and no more than 10 people are allowed to gather in public places (parks, gardes and ‘bois’) and for private events. Demonstrations are not banned but must be declared and authorised by officials beforehand. Sports clubs and gyms are closed except those in the open air. Swimming pools can stay open with strict hygiene conditions.
A poll in the Journal du Dimanche (JDD) suggested that despite anger over the order to shut down bars in Marseille and Aix-en-Provence, around 72% of French people say they are ready to respect a new lockdown.
The restrictions come as the number of positive Covid-19 tests in France rose to 7.4% (compared with 4.5% on 4 September and 5.7% on 20 September). This is a better indicator than the number of new coronavirus cases as this figure depends on the number of tests being carried out. There are now 1,230 clusters under investigation in France.
A group of French doctors and professors of medicine has called for “drastic measures” to avoid a second coronavirus wave that they believe will be more difficult than the first in March/April.
“If we don’t put into place drastic measures to slow the circulation of the virus responsible for Covid-19 from this weekend, we will face a second wave much more difficult for hospitals and intensive care units to cope with than the first,” the medics wrote in an open letter published in the JDD.
Official figures show 31,727 deaths in France have been attributed to Covid 19 and there have been 4,304 new admissions to hospital with the coronavirus in the last seven days, of which 786 people were admitted to intensive care.