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.
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.
Bordeaux: la préfète demande aux habitants de limiter les rassemblements privés à 10 personnes pic.twitter.com/3EK2vaxvZZ
— BFMTV (@BFMTV) September 14, 2020
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.
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.
Covid: interdiction des rassemblements de plus de 1000 personnes en Gironde pic.twitter.com/8zJEbcT4K4
— BFMTV (@BFMTV) September 14, 2020
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.
Conférence de presse de la préfète de la #Gironde Fabienne BUCCIO en présence de @ARS_NAquit@CHUBordeaux @BxMetro @Bordeaux.
? Annonce des nouvelles mesures destinées à répondre à l’évolution de la situation sanitaire dans la @BxMetro et en #Gironde. pic.twitter.com/9GFksNy3IL
— Préfète de la Nouvelle-Aquitaine et de la Gironde (@PrefAquitaine33) September 14, 2020
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.
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.
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.