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HEALTH

Where in France is it compulsory to wear a mask in the street?

Over 400 towns and cities in France have made masks compulsory in some outdoor areas, with first Toulouse and then Nice extending their rules to the entire city.

Where in France is it compulsory to wear a mask in the street?
An increasing number of local authorities in France have made masks mandatory in some areas outside. Photo: AFP

Prime Minister Jean Castex asked local authorities to “extend as far as possible the obligation to wear a mask in the public space,” in a bid to halt the quickening spread of the coronavirus across France.

This week, Toulouse and Nice became the first two cities to declare masks compulsory in all outdoor areas of their cities, but hundreds of places now have rules making masks compulsory in certain areas.

In Nice, the préfecture responded to a request by the mayor for a more “coherent” approach on mask wearing. The rule entered into effect on Thursday morning, making masks compulsory for everyone out on the street at all times of the day.
 
In Toulouse, the rule will enter into effect on Friday, August 21st, from 7am to 3am, for all people aged 12 and over, including those on bikes and scooters.
 
Around 400 communes have so far brought in rules on masks in outdoor spaces, extending the nationwide law that requires everyone to wear face masks on public transport and indoor public places, on pain of a €135 fine.
 
Several départements including Finistère and Côte d'Amor in Brittany and Haut-Savoie in the French Alps have made masks compulsory in all towns, while other large cities including Lyon, Marseille, Lille, Bordeaux and Nantes have made masks compulsory in certain areas.

Paris and four of its surrounding départements – Seine-Saint-Denis, Val-de-Marne, Hauts-de-Seine and Val-d'Oise – have made wearing a mask compulsory in certain areas. For full details of the rules in Paris, click here.

The government has not made any national rules on mask-wearing outside, but Health Minister Olivier Véran has urged the French to wear masks in any open-air areas where keeping a 1 metre distance is difficult.
 

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The blue towns have introduced rules on wearing masks on the street. Mostly these rules are limited to certain areas in the the town centre or those that are likely to be crowded, such as historic walled towns. However a series of larger cities like Lyon and Paris have expanded previous rules to larger areas while Nice and Toulouse have made them compulsory in all areas.
 
Local authorities in the northwestern Finistère département have made it compulsory to wear masks in the outdoor markets of 31 communes including the port city of Brest. 
 
In neighbour Brittany's Côtes-d'Armor département, mask-wearing in outdoor markets was mandatory in nearly 70 communes including the picturesque tourist town Dinan.
 
In Haute-Savoie, east of France on the Swiss border, local authorities made masks compulsory in all of the 280 towns in the département, but only in all markets and social gatherings numbering more than 10 people.
 
If you're visiting a tourist attraction you may find that this also has a mask rule, even if it is outdoors.
 
NOTE: This map is no longer being updated but many towns are bringing in their own rules on mask wearing. If you are travelling, check with local authorities in your area.
 

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ENVIRONMENT

High pollen counts predicted in France due to heatwave

Pollen from highly allergenic ragweed plant is expected to peak earlier this year, as a result of high temperatures.

High pollen counts predicted in France due to heatwave

Ragweed pollen (ambroisie) is expected to spread earlier this year across many parts of France, particularly in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region.

The National Aerobiological Surveillance Network (NASN) announced on Tuesday that the Lyon region has reached a critical threshold of ragweed pollen in the air to begin causing allergic reactions in sensitive people. The peak for the concentration of pollen in the air is expected for the end of August, which would be in approximately 20 days.

While the risk of allergic reaction is highest in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes currently, particularly in areas like northern Isère, Drôme, Ardèche and southern Rhône, the plant has spread across different regions in France. Up to 15 percent of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes could experience some level of allergic reaction from the plant, as it is highly allergenic, according to Anses.

It can also be found in Burgundy, Franche-Comté, New Aquitaine, Occitanie, as well as the north of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region.

However, in contrast, ragweed is typically neither found in the Northern and Western parts of the country, nor along the Mediterranean coast.

The high pollen counts are expected approximately one week early this year due to the high temperatures seasonal temperatures.

Ragweed pollen can cause runny noses, stinging eyes and even breathing difficulties in people with an allergy, said Samuel Monnier, engineer at the NASN, to BFMTV.

If you have a ragweed allergy, consider consulting a doctor or allergist to pre-empt or treat the symptoms, recommends Monnier. Residents in regions where the pollen count is high might also consider drying clothes inside rather than outside, in order to keep the pollen from sticking to clothing. 

The plant is considered particularly invasive, and many local authorities have put into place systems to remove it when spotted.  In order to report the presence of ragweed, you can go to the website signalement-ambroisie.fr or download the smartphone application “Signalement-Ambroisie.”

If you’re sensitive to pollen, you can keep up with the interactive pollen count maps across France by going to the website www.pollens.fr/

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