In total, 600,000 police checks have taken place since the France imposed a nationwide 6pm curfew on January 16th, according to the interior ministry.
The interior ministry said Sunday that police had performed 65,000 checks on Saturday, with 6,000 people fined for breaking the rules, and that checks now were ramped up by 30 percent.
A la demande du Premier ministre, j’ai donné aux préfets des consignes de fermeté pour faire respecter les règles sanitaires.
Cela s’est traduit par une augmentation de 30% des contrôles, il y en a eu près de 65 000 hier.
? Éviter le reconfinement passe par l'effort de chacun. pic.twitter.com/yM1t9qkvf3
— Gérald DARMANIN (@GDarmanin) January 31, 2021
“People in France should know that after 6pm they face a big risk of being stopped and possibly fined,” said Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin.
Across France no-one is allowed out between the hours of 6pm and 6am unless they fall into one of the exempt groups. Everyone who is out needs an attestation permission form stating their reason for leaving home.
As well as officers on foot, police have also set up roadblocks, including checks on the Paris ringroad on Sunday.
? Contrôle du #Couvrefeu18h sur le périphérique de #Paris, à la Porte d'Orléans. La #police arrête environ un véhicule sur cinq. Sans motif de sortie valable, les conducteurs sont verbalisés. Circulation très dense. pic.twitter.com/fvc0yMIo3l
— actu Paris (@actufrparis) January 31, 2021
But police received criticism for their choice of checkpoints on Sunday, with their particular targeting of motorways saw people fined for being caught in traffic jams.
Well that explains today’s bouchons de merde just before curfew.
Glad they’re controlling cars on the periph rather than, say, massive houseparties and groups of 20+ folks packed outside every café. ??♀️
Reconfinement increasingly a question of “when” not “if” à Paris. https://t.co/nBmosm2SlW
— Eleanor Aldridge (@elliealdridge) January 31, 2021
Traffic jams spanning 400 kilometres in and out of Paris saw drivers blocked for hours in queues.
“I don't think this kind of action helps the acceptability of the measure,” said Paris Deputy Mayor Emmanuel Grégoire in a tweet.
“They don't pose any risk to others than themselves,” he wrote, urging police to show leeway when necessary, “otherwise people will grow tired of this.. very quickly.”
Je ne crois pas que ce type d’action aide à l’acceptabilité des mesures… ils ne font courir aucun risque aux autres ou à eux-mêmes… un peu de discernement… sinon les citoyens vont se lasser… très vite… https://t.co/SBPoSvhTEY
— Emmanuel GREGOIRE (@egregoire) January 31, 2021
But cracking down harder on post-curfew activity was part of President Emmanuel Macron's revised coronavirus strategy presented on Friday evening, after the decision by the government Defence Council to not impose a third nationwide lockdown.
To ensure compliance with the rules, the government has said police will be more present and less lenient during checks, be it post-curfew activity without legitimate reason, restaurants maintaining an illegal underground activity or private businesses not respecting general health rules.
“We still have a chance to avoid lockdown,” Prime Minister Jean Castex said during Friday's press conference.
The Finance ministry has also warned that restaurants that open up in defiance of the rules face losing financial aid from the state.