When France begins to lift its lockdown on May 11th, there will be local differences, albeit small ones to begin with – and these depend on whether you live in a red or green area.
Preliminary maps have been published throughout the week, but the one revealed by health minister Olivier Véran on Thursday forms the final plan for the lifting of lockdown.
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- The number of new cases being diagnosed
- The capacity in local intensive care units
- Whether local authorities have a comprehensive testing and tracing programme in place
In the final map four regions of France – Hauts-de-France, Grand-Est, Bourgogne-Franche-Comté and the greater Paris Île-de-France region received a red designation, which meant 32 départements in all.
One overseas département – Mayotte – is also red.
The Prime Minister stated that the situation in Mayotte and the Paris region were causing particular concern.
“In Ile-de-France, the number of new cases is decreasing but it remains high, higher than we want it to,” Philippe said.
“We will begin to ease the lockdown (in Île-de-France), but seeing as this region is very densely populated, we need to practice a very strict discipline,” he said.
Earlier versions of the map also showed some areas in orange – these were the the areas as yet undecided.
The maps will continue to be revised after May 11th, but those areas that are now red will not be able to move to loosen some restrictions until the second phase begins on June 2nd – even if their département changes colour in the meantime.
However local authorities have the right to make changes in accordance with local conditions.
The main difference in phase 1 is that parks and gardens will not reopen in red areas on May 11th – meaning that Paris parks will stay closed.
Secondary schools (colleges) will only be able to reopen in green areas from May 18th although even then it will only be two year groups – years 5 and 6. A decision for when years 3 and 4 can return to the classroom will be take at the end of May.
The health minister has also said local authorities in red areas may be given powers to close shops or schools if necessary.
France's PM also said those départments that remain coloured green in three weeks will be able to ease restrictions even further.
“The country is divided in two: in the major part we managed to slow down the epidemic wave (…) these are the green departments,” said Edouard Philippe. “If they stay green for the next three weeks, we can at the very beginning of June consider a new phase of deconfinement.”
He also suggested those living in red départements must be more vigilant with how they respect social distancing.