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HEALTH

France lifts its limit of 20 mourners at funerals

The French government has scrapped the limit of 20 participants who can attend a funeral, a measure introduced during the lockdown as the country fought to contain its Covid-19 transmission rate.

France lifts its limit of 20 mourners at funerals
Photo: AFP

Since June 1st, there is no longer a limit on the number of attendees at funeral services carried out in France, religious or otherwise, as Macron’s government has decided that the current ban on gatherings of more than 10 people should not apply to these events. 

The lifting applies to crematoriums and funeral homes, as well as other religious establishments; and funeral ceremonies organised outside of these premises which are open to the public.

Participants must however respect the safety rules currently in place, maintain a physical distance of at least one metre between other attendees and wear a face mask at all times.

READ ALSO The 9 lockdown rules still in place in France

A cautionary tale from Dordogne highlights the importance of this, as in May a coronavirus cluster was centred around a funeral where dozens of people turned up at the wake.

Crematoriums and funeral homes have the right to limit the number of people who are allowed to enter their premises all at once, if the size or configuration of their establishment doesn’t allow for proper social distancing.

At the height of the pandemic, French families were forced to stay away from their loved ones' funerals by the country’s strict lockdown rules, leading undertakers to set up live video links for grieving families.

Funerals were the exception to the 10-person rule during the initial stages of lockdown easing in May, as they were allowed a maximum of 20 people at each service.

The after-funeral wake counted and still counts as a social gathering, but if it is in a private home there is no upper limit on guest numbers.

Cemeteries in France have been open to the public since May 11th when the country’s lockdown de-escalation began.

Social distancing and face masks are also necessary at cemeteries but there are no attendance limits as in the case of funerals, although local authorities do have the freedom to restrict access and set their own opening hours.
 

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LIVING IN FRANCE

Property taxes, food and tunnels: 6 essential articles on life in France

From tax hikes to the price of food, air conditioning and the unexpected things that lurk beneath the streets of Paris, here are 6 essential articles for life in France.

Property taxes, food and tunnels: 6 essential articles on life in France

As the inhabitants of Paris, one of Europe’s most densely populated cities, walk along the Champs-Elysées or Rue de Rivoli, they might be entirely unaware of the extensive underground world that exists below their feet.

Paris has a huge network of underground spaces that hide some very unexpected things (as well as the entirely prosaci Metro).

Skulls, beer and a ‘cathedral’: Discover the secrets of underground Paris

From cheese and garlic to berets and sex, taxes and striking, France is heavily loaded with cultural stereotypes – and most of them are only partly accurate.

This is us, busting more myths.

Myth-busting: Are these 12 clichés about France actually true?

France warned that companies might have to reduce energy this winter as Russian continues to reduce its gas supplies to Europe.

The government has already begun work on an energy-saving plan, with more measures to come in September.

And it’s not the only country thinking along these lines – from limits to heating and air conditioning to turning off the lights and taking off ties, here’s how countries around Europe are cutting their energy usage.

Air-con, lights and ties: How countries around Europe hope to avoid blackouts this winter

Although householders in France are relatively fortunate when it comes to rising bills, there is one notable exception.

Towns and villages across France have been raising property tax rates for second-home owners – with many areas voting for the maximum 60 percent increase.

Tax hikes of up to 60% for French second home owners

As we’ve stumbled onto money matters, let’s consider the cost of living. France has many temptations to woo visitors and foreign residents: its scenery, history, the lifestyle, the food and the drink.

While some things here are more expensive than elsewhere – we’re looking at you, second-hand car dealers – and the taxes are notoriously high, what about the cost of groceries and wine? How do they compare? We do something that looks a lot like crunching the numbers…

How expensive is food and drink in France?

But, enough of all that seriousness. It’s silly season, after all. Prominent French scientist Etienne Klein has had to apologise for claiming this was the latest astonishing picture taken by the James Webb Space Telescope, when it was – in fact …

French astronomer apologises for ‘stellar’ photo that was really . . . chorizo

Some people take things far too seriously.

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