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HEALTH

Macron says it would be ‘impossible’ to reopen ski resorts in France by Christmas

France's ski resorts, among the most popular in Europe, will not be allowed to reopen in time for the year-end holiday season, President Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday.

Macron says it would be 'impossible' to reopen ski resorts in France by Christmas
A picture taken on January 10, 2019 shows a view of the ski slopes of a ski resort in the French Alps. Photo: AFP

In a TV address where he set a goal to end the nationwide lockdown on December 15th, Macron said coronavirus risks made it “impossible” to allow winter sports to resume quickly.

Macron said he would consult with his European partners to coordinate start dates for the winter season.

It was preferable, Macron said, to plan for a re-opening of the resorts in January “under favourable conditions”. He promised an update with 10 days.

LATEST: Macron lays out three-stage ending of lockdown

The Haute-Savoie département in the French Alps on Monday had the highest number of virus infections per 100,000 people in the entire country, followed by neighbouring Savoie.

Health authorities have warned that regional hospitals could be saturated quickly if crowds of skiers from France and abroad were allowed to travel to those areas.

“Obviously we really want a reopening, but not at the cost of endangering public health,” Jean-Luc Boch, president of the ANMSM association of mountain resort mayors, told AFP.

France totals 350 ski resorts employing 120,000 people during the high season and generating an estimated €10 billion of income each year.

 

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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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