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COVID-19 RULES

Covid-19: France ends obligatory face mask rule on public transport

As of Monday May 16th face masks will no longer be mandatory on public transport in France.

Covid-19: France ends obligatory face mask rule on public transport
Commuters wear masks and sit in a train in Paris, France. (Photo by Martin BUREAU / AFP)

As of May 16th, transport users will no longer have to wear face coverings, a measure that was implemented in spring 2020 in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“From Monday, May 16, masks will no longer be mandatory for all public transport,” Olivier Veran said after a weekly cabinet meeting.

“Wearing a mask remains recommended,” he added, but the rule is “no longer appropriate” given the large drop in Covid cases recently.

The only place where face masks will remain obligatory in France is in medical settings such as at the doctors or in hospitals. People who test positive will still be required to self-isolate.

Exactly two years ago, at the end of the first lockdown on May 11th, 2020, then-Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced that face masks would be mandatory on public transport to help stop the spread of Covid-19.  

For the last three weeks, Covid-19 cases have been falling in France. As of Tuesday, May 10th, 56,449 new cases have been reported with 1,167 people admitted to the hospital. Over the past week, there have been an average of 37,637 new cases per day.

Since the start of the pandemic, France’s Health Ministry has reported 146,979 total deaths from Covid-19, with 594 deaths in the last week. 

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STRIKES

French unions announce new strike dates in battle against pension reform

After a second day in which more than a million people took to the streets of France to protest over planned pension reform, unions have announced further strike days.

French unions announce new strike dates in battle against pension reform

France’s eight main trades unions federations made a joint announcement on Tuesday night of fresh strike days – Tuesday, February 7th and Saturday, February 11th. 

Tuesday marks the day that the highly controversial pension reform – which includes raising the pension age from 62 to 64 – is presented to the French parliament for the first time.

Both days are likely to see significant disruption, particularly on public transport.

The mass strike on Tuesday saw trains and city public transport services heavily disrupted, while many schools closed as teachers walked out.

Demos held in towns and cities across France saw a huge turnout – more than 1.1 million people, an increase on the turnout on the first day of pension strikes.

READ ALSO ‘We won’t stop until Macron is defeated’ say French pension demonstrators

You can find all the latest news on strikes and service disruptions in our strike section HERE.

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