France begins lifting lockdown restrictions today
At a press conference held on Thursday, the Prime Minister confirmed that the French de-escalation strategy is starting on 11 May
- May 11, 2020 09:30
- Aseniya Dimitrova
France is launching a new phase in its fight against coronavirus today. On 11 May starts a progressive process of the lifting of restrictions which will unfold within several weeks. This should allow the country to smoothly exit the lockdown that was first introduced on 17 March.
Red and green zones
At a press conference held on Thursday, the French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe revealed the government’s strategy to alleviate the coronavirus restrictions. He underlined, however, that there are places in France which do not show significant progress in limiting the spread of Covid-19 and divided the country’s territory into red and green zones. Accordingly, the de-escalation process in the former will be slower.
A map showing the plan to lift the lockdown in France, depending on the speed of the coronavirus spread and other factors. Image by the Government of France
Extra awareness in Paris region
Naturally, the French capital and its surroundings belong to the red zones, where the number of cases remains higher than expected and therefore need extra vigilance. The same goes for the regions around Calais, Strasbourg and Dijon. In Ile-de-France large commercial centres also won’t reopen today.
In addition to the slower lockdown de-escalation, travellers on public transport of Paris in rush hours (6:30 – 9:30 and 16:00-19:00) will need a declaration signed by their employer. This should prevent crowding while giving priority to those who absolutely need to go to work via public transport.
Commercial establishments and schools reopen
As a major step of the de-escalation plan, since today 11 May, nurseries and primary schools and most businesses (including libraries, beauty salons, but not cafés, bars and restaurants) will reopen in both red and green zones. In the green zones, the reopening of secondary schools, cafés and restaurants appears possible from the beginning of June.
Starting today, the attendance of schools and nurseries will happen on a voluntary basis and with restricted groups size. The children of vital workers, such as healthcare personnel, will be given priority.
Also, from today, the elderly and the vulnerable are no longer required to stay at home but are advised to strictly observe social distancing.
For everyone above 11 years of age, face masks become mandatory on public transport, which will operate at half its capacity, informed the Ecological and Inclusive Transition Minister Elisabeth Borne.
According to estimations by Leigaro.fr, some 400,000 enterprises can reopen today. Combining this move with a return of thousands of children to their classrooms has been deemed far too risky of a move by many. Accordingly, it is yet to be seen whether the de-escalation strategy of the French government will continue as planned.
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