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FETE DE LA MUSIQUE

Mini concerts in bars and no curfew: France’s 2021 Fête de la Musique

France's annual Fête de la Musique takes place on Monday but given the health situation in the country - albeit an improving one, this year's festival will once again be slightly different. Here is what you need to know.

Mini concerts in bars and no curfew: France's 2021 Fête de la Musique
An artist performing at last year's 'Fete de la musique', which took place amid Covid-19 restrictions. Photo: Abdulmonam Eassa | AFP

Health rules for France’s annual Fête de la Musique have been eased, with small indoor concerts permitted in bars and restaurants, the Culture Minister has said.

Roselyne Bachelot announced the changes to Monday’s national celebration of music, hours after Prime Minister Jean Castex had revealed that France’s nightly 11pm curfew ends 10 days earlier than expected.

ALSO READ: Face masks to cafés: What Covid-19 rules are still in place in France?

Last month, Bachelot confirmed the event would go ahead under strict conditions. But she was able to announce a relaxation of the rules following Castex’s announcement.

So what has changed?

No curfew

As the curfew is no more, Bachelot confirmed that events will be allowed to continue past 11pm.

‘Mini concerts’

Perhaps the biggest announcement she made during her interview on France Info came when she said that “mini concerts in bars and restaurants” would be permitted.

Previously, only seated outdoor concerts were permitted.

Those venues that do host musical events will still have to respect health rules, including the 50 percent indoor limit, with no more than six to a table. Wearing a mask remains compulsory.

Outdoor concerts

As was already the case, seated outdoor concerts are permitted – as they were previously – with venues permitted to operate at up to 65 percent capacity to an overall limit of 5,000 people. A Covid health pass (pass sanitaire) is required for everyone attending an event of more than 1,000 people.

In line with Castex’s earlier press conference, face masks will have to be worn in crowded venues.

ALSO READ: Where do you still need to wear a face mask in France?

No busking

This hasn’t changed, either, despite the easing of health rules. The Prime Minister had earlier warned that “gatherings on the public highway” were still – as a rule – prohibited. Furthermore, the Service Public website confirmed that ‘amateur concerts’ are still prohibited, as were groups of more than 10 people on public roads or public spaces.

Elysée party

A concert will  be held at the Élysée Palace with “electro music, DJs” and notably Jean-Michel Jarre and Cerrone.

Police

The Paris police chief on Monday announced that 2,300 officers will be mobilised in the city to ensure that the rules – particularly those on wearing masks in crowded spaces – are respected.

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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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