In areas of 'high alert' such as Paris and its inner suburbs, gyms and sports centres will close from September 28th for a minimum of two weeks, health minister Olivier Véran announced on Wednesday.
“These are confined spaces where wearing a mask is impossible or at least complex and which are unfortunately places of significant contamination,” said Olivier Véran when justifying the decision.
READ ALSO: MAP: Where are the latest Covid-19 alert areas in France?
So how will the new rules work?
Firstly it depends on where you live.
The closures apply to all areas labeled as 'heightened alert' or maximum alert' on the government's new scale.
You can find about how that works HERE.
At present there are 11 areas in the 'hightened alert' category; Paris and its surrounding suburbs and the Bordeaux, Lille, Toulouse, Lyon, Saint-Étienne, Rouen, Grenoble, Rennes, and Montpellier metropole areas.
The maximum alert areas are the overseas département of Gaudeloupe and the Aix-Marseille area.
However these designations are revised weekly so keep an eye on this map for the latest.
What is closing?
All gyms and sports halls in the high risk areas will close, starting on Monday 28th. How long they will stay closed will depend on the health situation in each area, but the initial closure will be for two weeks.
What about swimming-pools and private lessons?
The Health Minister did not mention swimming-pools in his briefing, but prime minister Jean Castex said during a TV interview on Thursday that indoor pools will close in the risk areas.
According to Véran, who was on set during the live TV show with Castex, this closure will be decided along with prefects, on the local level.
Local authorities in the affected areas have some leeway to set restrictions in their area, adapted to local conditions. Authorities in Paris are expected to release on Friday evening or Saturday morning the detailed plans for the capital.
The same applies to private sport lessons.
For now, outdoor swimming pools remain open, even in high alert and maximum alert areas.
In areas that are not designated as heightened or maximum risk, sport centres, gyms and indoor swimming-pools will not close, but still have to follow the strict health protocols that have been in place since they reopened in June.
No exception for Roland-Garros
In the meantime, the French Open – which began this week and runs until October 11th after being postponed from May – will also have to adapt to the government’s latest measures.
Castex insisted the paris-based Grand Slam tournament follows the rules imposed on sports events taking place in zones where Covid-19 is showing signs of resurgence.
“We will apply the same rules at Roland Garros as elsewhere,” said Castex.
Two weeks ago event organisers said they would be able to welcome 5,000 spectators a day instead of 11,500 – the usual capacity being 20,000.
But they will now have to follow the 1,000 person maximum restriction each day (not including staff and media).