France’s bars and restaurants ‘will not reopen in January as planned’

The reopening of cafés, bars and restaurants in France, originally scheduled for January 20th, will not happen as planned, government sources are quoted as saying.

France's bars and restaurants 'will not reopen in January as planned'
France's bars, cafés and restaurants have been closed since October. Photo: AFP

French media are reporting government sources saying that the reopening “definitely won't be on January 20th” after several ministers including Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire said that the reopening could not be guaranteed.

A meeting of the Defence Council, which deals with health restrictions, has been scheduled for Monday.

Bars, cafés and restaurants in France have been closed since the second lockdown began on October 30th – and were closed for almost three months in the spring during the first lockdown. They are allowed to offer take-away services.

When the second lockdown was lifted on December 15th, a provisional schedule was laid out that included bars and restaurants reopening on January 20th.

However this was conditional on cases remaining under 5,000 a day, while at present they are averaging 15,000 a day.

The reopening on museums, theatres, cinemas and cultural spaces was also pushed back to January 7th, but the government has said the current health circumstances have seen them forced to a further postpone the date.

“It will not be possible to reopen cultural establishments on January 7th because the virus is still circulating very rapidly in our country,” said government spokesperson Gabriel Attal on Friday during an interview with TF1.


In the period between Christmas and New Year France tightened regulations in the east of the country, where case numbers have seen a worrying rise, by bringing the curfew forward from 8pm to 6am.

A press conference detailing the next stage of restrictions is expected in the first half of this week.

Member comments

  1. Thank you for keeping us up to date about this. Sadly this decision seems inevitable but I think all our thoughts go out to the proprietors of these establishments who must be struggling terribly with the financial consequences of the confinement.
    Stay safe and well, everyone.

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French doctors to stage more strikes in February

General practitioners in France are planning another industrial action that will see doctors' offices closed as they call for better investment in community healthcare.

French doctors to stage more strikes in February

Primary care doctors in France announced plans to strike again in February, after walkouts in December and over the Christmas-New Year holidays in early January.

The strike will take place on Tuesday, February 14th, and it comes just a few weeks ahead of the end-of-February deadline where France’s social security apparatus, Assurance Maladie, must reach an agreement to a structure for fees for GPs for the next five years.

Hospital doctors in France are largely barred from striking, but community healthcare workers such as GPs are self-employed and therefore can walk out. 

Their walk-out comes amid mass strike actions in February over the French government’s proposed pension reform. You can find updated information on pensions strikes HERE.

Previous industrial action led to widespread closures of primary care medical offices across the country. In December, strike action saw between 50 to 70 percent of doctor’s surgeries closed.

READ MORE: Urgent care: How to access non-emergency medical care in France

New concerns among GPs

According to reporting by La Depeche, in the upcoming strike in February primary care doctors will also be walking out over a new fear – the possibility of compulsory ‘on-call’ hours.

Currently, French GPs take on-call hours on a voluntary basis. Obligatory on-call time for primary care doctors was scrapped in the early 2000s after GPs mobilised against the requirement.

However, representatives from the Hospital Federation have called for it to be reinstated in order to help relieve emergency services.

Additionally, GPs are calling for Saturday shifts to considered as part of their standard working week, in order to allow for a two-day weekend.

Striking primary care doctors are more broadly calling for actions by the government and Assurance Maladie to help make the field more appealing to younger physicians entering the profession, as the country faces more medical deserts, and for working conditions to be improved.

Those walking out hope to see administrative procedures to be simplified and for the basic consultation fee – typically capped to €25 – to be doubled to €50.

In France patients pay the doctor upfront for a visit, and then a portion of the fee is reimbursed by the government via the carte vitale health card.