France’s 67 million inhabitants woke to the easing of its almost two-month-long lockdown on Monday, May 11th.
The majority of shops reopened, although with strict distancing measures in place. Many also require their customers to wear masks.
Hair and beauty salons also reopened, on an appointment basis only, with masks for customers and staff.
The rules on exercise were also relaxed, with the end to the 1-hour, 1km restriction on walking and jogging. Team sports are still banned but tennis and golf are now allowed.
Schools are only operating a very limited reopening, and in most cases pupils don't got back until Tuesday, but Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer visited this Paris classroom on Monday to check that all was ready.
But although many restrictions had been lifted, there are still some in place. In 'red' zones parks remain closed, such as this one in Lille.
Restrictions on travel have also been loosened for all journeys of less than 100km.
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The freedom of movement that this decision gives was showcased first thing on Monday morning on France’s A6 motorway as seen below, as cars started to pour into Paris on the famous Autoroute du Soleil (Motorway of the Sun) which connects the French capital with central and south-eastern France.
France’s government has put in place extra health and social distancing measures across its transport network to ensure travellers protect others and themselves.
The photos below show passengers in Lorient (Brittany) boarding a ferry to Groix island, with safety perimeters labelled on seats and face masks, which are currently mandatory on all transport in France, worn by all.
France’s SNCF public rail network actually started to increase the regularity of its train services to Paris over the weekend before the start of Phase 1 on Monday.
They did so to allow Parisians (a quarter of whom are estimated to have left the capital for the countryside or second residences before the 55-day lockdown began) to return to their homes in the capital.
More rigorous transport measures are still being kept in Paris due to the active circulation of the virus.
To ensure public transport is not overcrowded in the French capital, commuters will have to carry a certificate from their employer if they travel during peak hours in the morning and evening.
Wearing masks is obligatory on Paris buses, metro and other public transport.
Authorities have been readying for passengers to return to its stations with a myriad of circles and arrows being placed on the ground of concourses to ensure people observe social distancing.
— Remy Buisine (@RemyBuisine) May 11, 2020
RATP employees have also been helping commuters to disinfect their hands as they arrive at a metro station as the above video of a worker distributing hydroalcoholic gel from a big container on his back shows.
There are also hand gel dispensers on the streets.