French local authorities follow Paris in imposing daytime jogging ban

Other local authorities have followed Paris in introducing even stricter new rules on physical exercise during the coronavirus lockdown in an attempt to keep crowds to a minimum.

French local authorities follow Paris in imposing daytime jogging ban
No more daytime jogging in Paris. Photo: AFP

From Wednesday, April 8th, people can no longer allowed to leave their homes for the purposes of physical exercise between 10am and 7pm.

In a joint press release from Mayor Anne Hidalgo and city police chief Didier Lallement sent out on Tuesday, it was announced that anyone wanting to go for a run or other individual exercise would have to do so before 10am or after 7pm at night – “when the streets are generally at their quietest”. Exercising between those hours is now forbidden.

“Going for a run is good for the health, but not so good for lockdown,” Hidalgo told France Info.

Just hours after the announcement of the Paris rule, five départements in the greater Paris area announced that they would be following suit.

The départements of Val-de-Marne, Val-d'Oise, Seine-et-Marne, Yvelines and Hauts-de-Seine will now apply the same rule as in Paris.

Authorities in Seine-Saint-Denis and Essonne – the other two départements that make up the greater Paris Île-de-France region – have so far not announced new restrictions.

Paris' deputy mayor Emmanuel Gregoire then clarified that the rules apply only to people jogging or taking other exercise, not to dog walkers or people taking a short walk with members of their household.

“Feedback from our services and the police from on the ground is clear and consistent,” said Gregoire.

“There are too many people out at the same time and too many joggers at peak times. Nothing is perfect: the aim is to limit risks by limiting overcrowding rather than a general ban.”.

“We are banning jogging during the day not leaving the house,” said Gregoire.

“Children must, exceptionally, be able to leave the home a little during the day, the same for animals. The objective is to avoid peaks (of joggers) at the end of the morning and in the afternoon.”




READ ALSO What are the rules of lockdown in France?

Exercise is one of the accepted reasons for leaving the home during lockdown, but the rules have become progressively more strict since the measure was first announced on March 17th.

People are now only permitted to exercise outside the home once a day, for one hour and are not allowed to venture more than 1km from their home.

Cycling for exercise is banned altogether – although cycling to work or the supermarket is still allowed – and all group sports such as football are banned.

Paris has also banned access to certain areas such as the walkways along the Seine and the Bois de Vincennes and Bois de Boulogne.

Hidalgo and Lallement say that the new measure is aimed at avoiding more people on the streets as the weather gets warmer.

Their statement said: “We salute the efforts made by the inhabitants of the capital to give this period of lockdown its full effectiveness in terms of health.
“The first positive effects of this measure are now being felt in hospitals. However, they remain under great strain. Any form of relaxation would therefore jeopardise the collective efforts made so far.
“The Mayor of Paris and the Prefect of Police salute the civic-mindedness and responsibility of Parisians and wish to avoid any risk of a relaxation of the containment measures by an increase in the number of people in the public space, thanks to fine weather.”
The pair said stressed to the public that every trip outside the house that can be avoided helps the fight against the epidemic.
“It is through responsibility, self-regulation and collective discipline that Parisians will best help healthcare workers in their fight to save those who are sick,” the statement read.
Paris is not the only local authority to take extra measures – many places have introduced nighttime curfews and several towns plan to make wearing masks compulsory in the coming days.

Member comments

  1. They have simply narrowed the time window for the jogging crowds so now there will be EVEN MORE CONCENTRATIONS of people out jogging outside of the 10am-7pm restriction. Better to have left well enough alone and concentrate on enforcement in areas where people are simply flouting the law.

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Carte vitale: France to adopt a new ‘biometric’ health card

The French parliament has approved a €20 million project to launch a 'biometric' version of the carte vitale health insurance card.

Carte vitale: France to adopt a new 'biometric' health card

As part of the French government’s package of financial aid for the cost-of-living crisis, €20 million will be set set aside to launch a biometric health card, after an amendment proposed by senators was approved.

Right-wing senators made this measure a “condition” of their support for the financial aid package, according to French left-wing daily Libération, and on Thursday the measure was approved by the Assemblée nationale.

While it sounds quite high tech, the idea is relatively simple, according to centre-right MP Thibault Bazin: the carte vitale would be equipped with a chip that “contains physical characteristics of the insured, such as their fingerprints” which would allow healthcare providers to identify them.

The carte vitale is the card that allows anyone registered in the French health system to be reimbursed for medical costs such as doctor’s appointments, medical procedures and prescriptions. The card is linked to the patient’s bank account so that costs are reimbursed directly into the bank account, usually within a couple of days.

READ ALSO How a carte vitale works and how to get one

According to the centre-right Les Républicains group, the reason for having a ‘biometric’ carte vitale is to fight against welfare fraud.

They say this would have two functions; firstly the biometric data would ensure the card could only be used by the holder, and secondly the chip would allow for instant deactivation if the card was lost of stolen.

Support for the biometric carte vitale has mostly been concentrated with right-wing representatives, however, opponants say that the implementation of the tool would be costly and lengthy.

It would involve replacing at least 65 million cards across France and repurposing them with biometric chips, in addition to taking fingerprints for all people concerned.

Additionally, all healthcare professionals would have to join the new system and be equipped with devices capable of reading fingerprints. 

Left-leaning representatives have also voiced concerns regarding the protection of personal data and whether plans would comply with European regulations for protecting personal data, as the creation of ‘biometric’ carte vitales would inevitably lead to the creation of a centralised biometric database. Additionally, there are concerns regarding whether this sensitive personal information could be exposed to cybercrime, as the health insurance system in France has been targeted by hackers in the past.

Finally, there is concern that the amount of financial loss represented by carte vitale fraud has been overestimated. The true figures are difficult to establish, but fraud related to carte vitale use is only a small part of general welfare fraud, which also covers unemployment benefits and other government subsidy schemes.

The scheme is set to begin in the autumn, but there us no information on how this will be done, and whether the biometric chip will just be added to new cards, or whether existing cards will be replaced with new ones.