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COVID-19

Paris closes all parks in bid to limit coronavirus spread

All parks in the French capital were to close to the public on Monday, the City Hall said, in what was another restrictive measure aimed at containing the coronavirus epidemic.

Paris closes all parks in bid to limit coronavirus spread
All parks in Paris were to close their gates on Monday in an effort to limit Parisians' social interactions. Photo: AFP

“The parks and gardens in Paris will close in the coming hours,” the City of Paris said in a press statement on Monday.

“Last Saturday, France entered stage 3 of the coronavirus epidemic,” the statement said.

The closing down of the capital's parks was a means “to amplify the impact of the measures” the government had taken to restrict social movement in the country.

The City would also ensure a free parking for everyone mobilised to deal with the crisis to make it as easy as possible for them to get to work and back. Five hundred thousand masks would be distributed to the capital's health personnel, the statement said.

The announcement came as the French government ramped up restrictive measures to slow down the spread of the coronavirus in the country, which was beginning to take a heavy toll on the country's already overstrained health system.

READ MORE: What's closed (and what's open) in France following the new coronavirus restrictions

On Sunday evening, 127 people had died from the coronavirus, which had spread to all of the country and contaminated more than 5,400 people.

Despite French health authorities stressing how important it was for people to limit their social interactions as much as possible and stay inside if they could, many Parisians were out and about on Sunday to enjoy the suddenly sunny weather.

 

 

“Stay at home, it's as simple as that,” said the country's health service Jérôme Salomon said on Monday morning, urging everyone to carry their part of the burden to limit the spread of the contagion.

You can find all our latest coronavirus coverage in France here.

As the City's released its press statement on Monday, Parisians were already adapting to the new rules, queuing up in front of pharmacies (drug stores) and food shops with one metre between themselves.

However, French media reported that the government would announce confinement measures and curfews for the whole country to come into force on Monday or Tuesday.

Government spokesperson Sibeth Ndiaye described the reports of a curfew as “fake news”.

But she added: “We are examining all the useful measures to get people to change their behaviour.”

President Emmanuel Macron was to hold a televised speech on Monday evening to announce the government's next steps in the fight against the epidemic.

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COVID-19

Where in France do you still need a face mask?

In France, masks will no longer be required on indoor transport as of Monday, May 16th. Here are rules and recommendations that are still in place:

Where in France do you still need a face mask?

Members of the public in France have been asked to wear face masks for the most part of two years, at times even outside in the street.

Since March 14th, 2022, the facial coverings have no longer been mandatory in most establishments such as shops, and as of Monday, May 16th, it will no longer be mandatory on indoor public transport. 

As of May 16th, you will therefore no longer be required to wear a mask in the following transports:

  • Buses and coaches
  • Subways and streetcars
  • RER and TER
  • TGV and interregional lines
  • Taxis

Regarding airplanes whether or not you must wear a mask is a bit more complicated.

On Wednesday, May 11th, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) announced that from May 16th onward it would no longer be required to wear a mask in airports and on board aircraft in the European Union. However, Germany has stated that it does not have the intention of lifting its requirement of wearing a mask on its airlines – this would include the Lufthansa airline. Thus, it will be necessary for passengers to still very to rules each airline has in place, which could be the case when travelling to a country that still has indoor mask requirements in place.

EASA Executive Director Patrick Ky specified that vulnerable people should continue to wear masks, and that “a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, to reassure those seated nearby.”

Masks still obligatory in medical settings

However, it will still be mandatory for caregivers, patients and visitors in health care facilities, specifically including hospitals, pharmacies, medical laboratories, retirement homes, and establishments for the disabled. 

For people who are vulnerable either due to their age or their status as immunocompromised, wearing a mask will continue to be recommended, though not required, particularly for enclosed spaces and in large gatherings.

Masks are also still recommended for people who test positive, people who might have come in contact with Covid-19, symptomatic people and healthcare professionals.

Will masks come back?

It is possible. French Health Minister Olivier Véran does not exclude the return of mandatory mask-wearing, should the health situation require it.

What are the other Covid-19 restrictions that remain in place?

The primary restriction that has not changed is the French government’s regulation for testing positive: If you are unvaccinated and test positive, isolation is still required for 10 days, if you are vaccinated, this requirement is seven days. Isolation can be reduced from 10 to 7 days or from 7 to 5 days if a negative covid test is performed, and symptoms are no longer present.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: What Covid restrictions remain in place in France?

The French Health Ministry still recommends following sanitary measures such as: wearing a mask in places where it is still mandatory, hand washing, regular ventilation of rooms, coughing or sneezing into your elbow, and using a single-use handkerchief (tissue).

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