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PARIS

Paris outdoor face mask rule suspended by court

A court has suspended the 'excessive' rule that required Parisians to wear masks in all outdoor spaces, which has been in place since New Year's Eve.

Paris outdoor face mask rule suspended by court
Photo: Martin Bureau/AFP

Paris local authorities were among many who imposed extra mask-wearing rules, in addition to the national requirement that masks be worn in all indoor public spaces and on public transport.

The Paris rule mandated masks at all times in all outdoor areas including on the street – but the rule has now been suspended by a court which ruled it “an excessive, disproportionate and inappropriate (…) infringement of individual freedom”.

The administrative court has suspended the préfectoral decree which imposed the Paris rule, and comes a day after a similar rule for the greater Paris area of Yvelines was also suspended.

Dozens of other local authorities around France had imposed extra requirements for mask-wearing outdoors, and although the Paris decision has no direct effect on other areas, it could open the door to further appeals.

Paul Cassia, one of the lawyers who brought the challenge against the Paris rule, told Le Parisien: “The order was illegal because it relates to a general and absolute obligation, which is only very rarely admitted by the administrative judge.

“Freedom is the rule and the police measure is the exception. It is this very classic maxim which is applied today.”

Member comments

  1. UK has said today that the British health pass will be abolished by the end of the month and that there is no basis for renewing the authority. Hopefully, this signals the beginning of the end of this terrible period and that France will soon be in a position to follow suit.

    1. I’m not sure the same will happen in France, at least not yet. Véran praised the UK for the success of its booster campaign and continues to try to entice people to get their boosters here in France. Until enough people have taken their 3rd shot, I fear that the health pass will continue to be required for certain venues.

    2. Yes, I was overjoyed to hear this. I live in NZ, with similar outlandish rules, and some such as forced two week quarantine lockup with almost closed off entry for citizens even worse! My mother lives in France. I too hope this is the beginning of the end. Some regimes have a far more authoritarian view. Our courts have decided any Covid law passed by the government, without any vote or discussion may I hasten to add, is above human rights and freedoms. If you are vocal about opposition the police come knocking on your door…I hope things change and soon. Division is getting very hateful and being driven by some governments inc Macron

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PARIS

How Paris plans to transform the polluted périphérique into a ‘green belt’

Paris' Mayor Anne Hidalgo says she wants to transform the city’s congested, polluted péripherique ring road into a "green belt" around the capital city. Here’s how she plans to do it.

How Paris plans to transform the polluted périphérique into a 'green belt'

Paris’ 35km-long périphérique (French for ring-road, or beltway) is notorious for its high levels of pollution and terrible traffic jams.

Currently, over 1.1 million trips take place along the ring road each day, which puts those living near the road at risk of toxic air pollution. 

But that might all change if Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo’s plan, which she announced May 18th, is successful. These are the steps for the green future of the périphérique.

An ‘Olympic Lane’

In 2024, when Paris hosts the summer Olympics, the mayor plans to create an “Olympic lane,” which would only be used for buses, taxis and carpooling for participants of the Olympics. According to the mayor’s deputy, David Belliard, this would eliminate about 80,000 vehicles from traffic. By 2030, their goal is to get rid of one lane altogether (normally the road has four lanes going in each direction). 

Increasing vegetation

The mayor plans to make the road, which exposes its neighbours to poor air quality, more green by planting a total of 70,000 trees on the embankments, the ramps, the central median, and even eventually the lane that is set to be removed.

She also aims for more green spaces at points along either side of the road with some 10 hectares of vegetation to be planted in total.

“Revegetation is an extraordinary and fabulous lever for transforming this entire territory,” said Hidalgo.

Also planned before 2024 is the upgrade of the entrance and exit points at the Portes de Clichy, La Chapelle, Brancion, Dauphine and Maillot.

READ ALSO: Why this road is simply the worst in France (and possibly the world)

How will they do it?

It will not be an easy task to accomplish – Mayor Hidalgo has already faced backlash for other efforts to reduce car usage in the capital. In her announcement, Hidalgo said she plans to “listen” to motorists, truck drivers, and shopkeepers before beginning the changes. She is betting that the long timeframe of the project will give people time “to adapt.” 

Thus far, however, only the “Olympic” lane has been approved by Paris’ police prefecture, and Valérie Pécresse, the centre-right president of the Île-de-France region has expressed disapproval for the plan and announced that a poll she organised showed that 90% of voters opposed the “removal” of a lane on the ring road.

Ultimately, the goal of the project is to create a more “harmonious and pleasant living environment” for those who live near the ring road. In Paris, car traffic is responsible for more than half of the nitrogen oxide emissions, so decreasing pollution levels is of utmost importance. But it is not just air pollution that Mayor Hidalgo hopes to reduce – noise pollution is also an issue that affects the 144,000 people living in the immediate area. 

“The grey belt will be transformed into a green belt,” said Hidalgo.

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