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BORDEAUX

Bordeaux: What are the new Covid-19 restrictions on daily life?

Local authorities in Bordeaux and the surrounding Gironde département have revealed a series of new measures to stem the spiralling Covid-19 rates in the south western city.

Bordeaux: What are the new Covid-19 restrictions on daily life?
Photo: AFP

The new measures were announced by Fabienne Buccio, head of the Nouvelle Aquitaine region, during a press conference on Monday.

French Prime Minister Jean Castex on Friday asked Buccio, along with her colleagues in the region Bouches-du-Rhône around Marseille and in the overseas territory Guadeloupe, to present new and stricter measures to limit the rapidly rising spread of the virus in their areas.

The Gironde département, and especially in Bordeaux, Covid-19 has spread rapidly over the last few weeks.

Here's a look at the new rules.

Bordeaux

Gatherings in certain parts of Bordeaux such as parks and gardens are now limited to 10 people and authorities banned people from drinking alcohol in the streets.

 

Buccio asked everyone in the city to keep with the 10 people rule, even when organising private events such as family gatherings, birthdays and weddings.

“Dance nights are prohibited in bars, party halls and at all weddings and birthdays,” Buccio said, adding that consuming alcohol while standing up and at bars was also prohibited in the city.

The prefect also warned bar owners that any establishment caught breaching the health rules would be closed down “from one day to the next.”

The city has cancelled the annual heritage days events (Journées du Patrimoine) in September.

All student parties at the start of the term will also be scrapped.

Gironde

In the wider Gironde département around Bordeaux, the cap on the maximum number of people at events has been cut to 1,000 compared to the 5,000 limit nationwide.

 

Also in the whole of Gironde “Events such as fun fairs, flea markets, or neighbourhood parties will not be authorised,” the prefect said.

She added that all protests would be “banned if they don't respect a strict health rule protocol.”

Additional gendarme and riot police units will be deployed to enforce the measures, she added, and a fresh review of the situation will be carried out in the next two or three weeks.

“If we have to toughen the measures, I will, but if we can lighten them, I'll do that as well,” Buccio said.

'Work from home'

Buccio also said the city of Bordeaux would increase public transport services during rush hours to alleviate pressure and ensure more space for commuters.

She reminded listeners that those who could should work from home and warned businesses that authorities would increase checks to see that they complied with the government's health rules.

For all the measures, see the series of tweets below.

 

Mounting pressure on hospitals

Bordeaux, which was largely spared in the first wave of infections this spring, has seen hospital rates spiral over the past few weeks.

The number of patients hospitalised in the south western Nouvelle Aquitaine region has doubled in 10 days.

READ ALSO: Why are Bordeaux and Marseille facing tougher Covid-19 restrictions but not Paris

Some two thirds of the area's intensive care patients are being treated in the Bordeaux’ hospitals. 

Last week, 147 new hospitalisations were counted in Bordeaux, compared to 82 the week before.

Vulnerable and elderly

The PM said on Friday that the mounting pressure on hospitals in Bordeaux and Marseille was largely due to an increase in the number of elderly infected.

To protect the elderly and vulnerable in Bordeaux, Buccio said decided to limit the number of visits to two per week per resident in Ehpad (the French term for elderly nursing homes).

Nice has also limited visits to nursery homes for elderly.

Buccio also said authorities would open new test centres in Bordeaux “as of this week” as part of the strategy to protect the vulnerable and elderly.

Across France, local health authorities have struggled to keep up with the high level of demand that has seen their capacities strained causing long lines outside testing centres.

READ ALSO: How France's 'chaotic' Covid-19 testing strategy is causing a real headache

The general line in France is that anyone who could be at risk of having the virus, either if they have symptoms or if they have been in touch with someone who tests positive, should get tested.

The PM on Friday said authorities would need o realign their strategies to prioritise vulnerable groups and Buccio now urged mayors in Gironde would need to “use their municipal registers to identify the most vulnerable citizens and call them regularly,” like they did during a heatwave.

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COVID-19

Where in France do you still need a face mask?

In France, masks will no longer be required on indoor transport as of Monday, May 16th. Here are rules and recommendations that are still in place:

Where in France do you still need a face mask?

Members of the public in France have been asked to wear face masks for the most part of two years, at times even outside in the street.

Since March 14th, 2022, the facial coverings have no longer been mandatory in most establishments such as shops, and as of Monday, May 16th, it will no longer be mandatory on indoor public transport. 

As of May 16th, you will therefore no longer be required to wear a mask in the following transports:

  • Buses and coaches
  • Subways and streetcars
  • RER and TER
  • TGV and interregional lines
  • Taxis

Regarding airplanes whether or not you must wear a mask is a bit more complicated.

On Wednesday, May 11th, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) announced that from May 16th onward it would no longer be required to wear a mask in airports and on board aircraft in the European Union. However, Germany has stated that it does not have the intention of lifting its requirement of wearing a mask on its airlines – this would include the Lufthansa airline. Thus, it will be necessary for passengers to still very to rules each airline has in place, which could be the case when travelling to a country that still has indoor mask requirements in place.

EASA Executive Director Patrick Ky specified that vulnerable people should continue to wear masks, and that “a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, to reassure those seated nearby.”

Masks still obligatory in medical settings

However, it will still be mandatory for caregivers, patients and visitors in health care facilities, specifically including hospitals, pharmacies, medical laboratories, retirement homes, and establishments for the disabled. 

For people who are vulnerable either due to their age or their status as immunocompromised, wearing a mask will continue to be recommended, though not required, particularly for enclosed spaces and in large gatherings.

Masks are also still recommended for people who test positive, people who might have come in contact with Covid-19, symptomatic people and healthcare professionals.

Will masks come back?

It is possible. French Health Minister Olivier Véran does not exclude the return of mandatory mask-wearing, should the health situation require it.

What are the other Covid-19 restrictions that remain in place?

The primary restriction that has not changed is the French government’s regulation for testing positive: If you are unvaccinated and test positive, isolation is still required for 10 days, if you are vaccinated, this requirement is seven days. Isolation can be reduced from 10 to 7 days or from 7 to 5 days if a negative covid test is performed, and symptoms are no longer present.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: What Covid restrictions remain in place in France?

The French Health Ministry still recommends following sanitary measures such as: wearing a mask in places where it is still mandatory, hand washing, regular ventilation of rooms, coughing or sneezing into your elbow, and using a single-use handkerchief (tissue).

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