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France begins first phase of relaxed COVID-19 restrictions


France begins first phase of relaxed COVID-19 restrictions

Photo: EPA / BBC

France will today begin easing COVID-19 restrictions nationwide following the country’s second lockdown.

The move follows President Emmanuel Macron’s Tuesday announcement that the government believes the worst of the second wave is over. Under the new rules shops, movie theatres and museums will reopen on limited hours and citizens will be allowed out of their homes provided they stay within a 12-mile radius. Purchases made during the winter holidays account for 20-40% of annual revenue for many French businesses and business owners have pushed to reopen for the busy holiday period.

Restaurants and bars, however, will stay closed through late December to reduce the risk of the virus spreading. Provided cases continue to decline, bars, gyms and restaurants will reopen on January 20. France is the most affected European country with 2.2 million total cases, the fourth-highest national total behind the US States, India and Brazil.

The ease may lead to a new spike in cases if the government accelerates the pace of re-opening due to business pressure. South Korea recently eased restrictions only to experience its worst daily infection rate since quarantine began in March. Despite this worrying example, French officials remain hopeful.

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