France says children must wear masks on transport from age six

Passengers wait near a sign reading
Passengers wait near a sign reading "A ticket, a mask, a health pass" at the Gare de Lyon station in Paris. As of Monday, rail passengers will not be allowed to remove their masks to eat or drink. GEOFFROY VAN DER HASSELT / AFP
Children on French public transport will soon have to wear a face mask from the age of six upwards, the government decreed Saturday, as part of its latest measures against coronavirus.

Masks had previously been compulsory from the age of 11, but Paris is tightening regulations given the rapid spread of the Omicron variant.

Children aged six and older will have to don a mask on all means of public transport within national borders from Monday, while carriers will not serve any food or drink for three weeks from the same date.

Prime Minister Jean Castex had flagged up the drinks and food ban on transport last Monday.

A spokesperson for the SNCF national railway operator indicated the latest restrictions mean passengers will not be permitted to remove their face masks even to eat or drink, save for cross-border services including Thalys and Eurostar.

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Restaurant services will be suspended on high-speed TGV and inter-city services as from Monday until January 23, SNCF said in response to the decree.

Daily Covid-19 cases in France have been hitting one record high after another in recent days, with the authorities announcing 232,200 new infections on Friday, the most since the start of the pandemic.

But the government has so far tried to avoid measures like closing down restaurants and bars, instead encouraging all to become fully vaccinated with booster shots.


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  1. Fair enough, but if masks are required to be worn on public transport by children aged 6+, why are they not required to wear them in shops? We will not be then faced by the current situation of parents in shops, diligently wearing their masks, whilst their entourage of maskless children run about, coughing and spluttering around the shop, potentially spreading the virus. If the child is unable or unwilling to wear a mask in the shop, leave it at home.

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