Paris police extend Covid drinking ban to avoid crowds and ramp up weekend checks

Police in Paris have widened a ban on daytime drinking in the French capital and ramped up patrols for this weekend to prevent large crowds from gathering and risk another Covid flare-up.

Paris police extend Covid drinking ban to avoid crowds and ramp up weekend checks
Paris police issue alcohol checks by the canal Saint-Martin, east in the capital. (Photo by François GUILLOT / AFP
The Préfecture de Police on Friday announced further restrictions in the French capital, extending a ban on daytime drinking in public places introduced earlier this week and closing large non-alimentary shops.
The statement from police chief Didier Lallement said:  “The health situation in Paris remains particularly sensitive with an active circulation of the virus and a very high pressure on the hospital system.”
The new restrictions “aim to slow down the virus’ circulation by avoiding gatherings of people in public places,” the statement read.

Police stepped up patrols last weekend when crowds of people flocked to the capital’s riverbanks, parks and squares and streets to enjoy the suddenly sunny and warm weather.
Earlier this week, the police chief issued a ban on drinking in certain streets from 11am until 6pm, when the nationwide curfew begins. The new statement added further areas to the list of places, including the popular Seine riverbanks and the Canal Saint-Martin.
These are the areas concerned:
  • Rue Rue de Buci in the 6th arrondissement
  • Place de la Contrescarpe in the 5th arrondissement
  • Esplanade des Invalides in the 7th arrondissement
  • In the 9th and 18th arrondissements: Place Lino Ventura, avenue Trudaine, rue des Martyrs, Place du Tertre, rue Marcadet
  • In the 10th arrondissement: canal Saint-Martin, rue du Faubourg-Saint-Denis, cour des Petites-Ecuries
  • Rue du Général Renault and rue du Général Blaise in the 11th arrondissement
  • Place Flora Tristan in the 14th arrondissement
  • All along the Seine riverbanks, on both sides, between the pont des Arts and Pont de Sully, on Île de la Cité and Île Saint-Louise
  • In the centre: Place Joachim du Bellay, Fontaine des Innocents, Place du Bourg-Tiburg, Place du marche Saint Catherine, rue des Hospitalières-Saint-Gervais, rue des petits Carreaux.
The ban remains in place until March 21st. Those caught flouting the rules could be subject to a €135 fine.
The police chief also said 4,400 officers would patrol the capital the coming weekend to ensure compliance with the new rules.
“If police find groups where respect of health rules are not guaranteed, in particular by the Seine riverbanks and in parks and gardens, they have been instructed to evacuate them,” the statement said.
Last summer police in Paris also struggled with large groups of people gathering in open spaces in the city. Back then too, authorities banned drinking on the banks of the Seine and the Canal Saint-Martin in an attempt to discourage groups.
Under current lockdown rules, Parisians can meet friends outdoors in small groups or in private homes in unlimited groups – although a maximum of six is recommended – before the curfew kicks in at 6pm. 
The police chief asked that people respect the advisory “rule of six”, which is not compulsory, but recommended.
He also ordered all non-food shops measuring more than 10,000 square metres to close, a new measure the prime minister said at the press conference the evening before would apply for all of France’s 23 départements on heightened alert. Previously, the maximum threshold was 20,000 square metres.

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France scraps compulsory self-isolation after positive Covid test

France's public health body has outlined how Covid-19 rules will change on February 1st, including an end to compulsory self-isolation after a positive test result.

France scraps compulsory self-isolation after positive Covid test

Starting on February 1st, Covid rules will relax in France as the country ends compulsory isolation for those who test positive for the virus.

However, those travelling from China to France will still be required to agree to a random screening upon arrival and to isolate in the case of a positive Covid-19 test result. Travellers aged 11 and over coming from China must also provide a negative test result (less tan 48 hours) prior to boarding and those aged six and over must agree to wear a mask on board flights. These regulations – which was set to last until January 31st – is set to remain in place until February 15th.

The French public health body (The Direction générale de la santé or DGS)  announced the change on Saturday in a decree published in the “Journal Officiel” outlining the various ways the body will loosen previous coronavirus restrictions.

READ MORE: What Covid rules and recommendations remain for visiting France?

Those who were in contact with someone who tested positive – ie a contact cases – will also no longer be required to take a test, though the public health body stressed that both testing after contact and isolating after receiving a positive test remain recommended.

Previously, even asymptomatic people who had been in contact with someone who tested positive for Covid-19 were required to test on the second day after being notified that they were a “contact-case”.

These changes will take effect on February 1st.

READ MORE: What changes in France in February 2023?

The DGS also said that website SI-DEP, which records test results, will remain in operation until June 30th, however starting in February it will only collect personal data with the express permission of the patient.

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Additionally, the French government announced that sick leave procedures for people with Covid-19 will return to normal on February 1st – this means that those who test positive for Covid-19 will have the three-day wait period before daily sick benefits are required to be paid, as is usually the case. Previously, people with Covid-19 could expect daily sick benefits to begin at the start of their sick leave period (arrêt maladie in French).  

READ MORE: How sick leave pay in France compares to other countries in Europe

Covid tests are still available on walk-in basis from most pharmacies are are free to people who are fully vaccinated and registered in the French health system. Unvaccinated people, or visitors to France, have to pay up to a maximum of €22 for an antigen test of €49 for a PCR test. 

If you recently tested positive for Covid-19 in France – or you suspect you may have contracted Covid-19 – you can find some information for how to proceed here.

In explaining the changes that will begin in February, the French public health body also noted a drop in Covid-19 infections in the past month. As of January 30th, approximately 3,800 people in France had tested positive in the previous 24 hours for the coronavirus – which represents a decrease from the averages of 20,000 new cases per day about one month ago.