Bars, cafés and restaurants in France ‘could reopen in June’ – but only in green zones

Bars, cafés and restaurants in France 'could reopen in June' - but only in green zones
Photo: AFP
France's bars, cafés and restaurants - shuttered since March under the country's strict lockdown - could be on course to reopen in June, but only in parts of the country.

When presenting the government's €18bn rescue package for the country's tourist industry on Thursday, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe also had some good news for those who have been missing their café terrace fix.

“Reopening as of June 2nd can be envisaged in green départments, if the epidemic situation does not deteriorate,” Philippe said.

All cafés, bars and restaurants have been closed since March 15th, two days before the country's strict lockdown began.

Although some restrictions in France were lifted on May 11th, the cafés remained closed until at least the beginning of phase 2 of the lifting of lockdown – set to start on June 2nd.

A final date for when the sector could get back in business be would be set “around the week of May 25th,” the PM said.

But while this sounds like good news for some, the country's red zones with higher coronavirus levels will likely have to remain shut for some time beyond June 2nd.

READ ALSO The map of red and green départements of France for lifting lockdown

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Cafés in Paris will stay closed for some time. Photo: AFP

In Paris, which is a red zone, bar and restaurant owners are wanting anxiously for news for when they can open their doors again.

“It’s been awful. We have no visibility on a reopening date and under what conditions we’ll be allowed to reopen,” one Paris bar manager told The Local.

“We’ve ran our funds dry. Will customers even come back? One thing is for sure we can never allow our industry to be this fragile ever again,” said the manager, who asked not to be named.

Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo has laid out possible measures for reopening bars including closing some streets to traffic to allow the city's famously cramped café terraces to expand and ensure that social distancing measures can be respected.

However as with all aspects of the plan to lift lockdown, everything depends on the health situation and if coronavirus cases spike again the loosening of restrictions could be halted or reversed.


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