Bars to close at 11pm in southern French département after rise in Delta cases

Bars to close at 11pm in southern French département after rise in Delta cases
Authorities in the Pyrénées-Orientales département announced on Friday that compulsory mask-wearing would be reimposed in all public spaces except beaches. Photo by RAYMOND ROIG / AFP
Two French départements, the Pyrénées Orientales and Bas-Rhin reimposed compulsory mask-wearing outdoors after a worrying rise in cases of the Delta variant. In the Pyrénnées Orientales bars and restaurants will also have to close at 11pm.

Authorities in the Pyrénées-Orientales département announced on Friday that compulsory mask-wearing would be reimposed in all public spaces except beaches – a measure that is currently in place in towns across the country that are experiencing a rise in Covid-19 cases.

From Saturday, residents over the age of 11 in the northern Bas-Rhin département will also be required to wear masks in public outdoor places such as markets, public transport and crowded areas.

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The incidence rate has more than doubled in just a week, authorities said, rising from 34,7 to almost 50 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants.

EXPLAINED: Which towns in France have imposed rules on face masks in the street?

However, on Saturday local authorities in the Pyrénées-Orientales announced further restrictions. Bars, restaurants and beach establishments will have to close at 11pm, in a further attempt to curb the rise in cases of the Delta variant.

The measures will come into effect on Sunday 18th July and will stay in place until August 2nd.

The number of Covid cases has risen sharply in the past few days in the southern département, which is on the border with Spain.

It now has the highest incidence rate in the country, at 257 per 100,000 inhabitants, compared to just 12,7 on July 2nd.

Covid-19 incidence rate in France by département. Source: CovidTracker

In the past week, almost 1% of 20 year-olds tested positive for Covid in the Pyrénées-Orientales.

The Delta variant, which was first discovered in India has rapidly become dominant in most parts of France. It is reported to be responsible for around 70 percent of cases.

France has tightened restrictions for people coming from Spain, and from Saturday requires a negative 24-hour Covid test for non-vaccinated travellers crossing the border.

READ ALSO: France to require 24-hour test for UK and some EU countries over delta variant fears


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