As France struggles to contain a rising rate of infection which started to grow exponentially in late August, the country’s capital and much-loved city will shut all bars completely from today onwards. Bars, gyms and swimming pools will all be closed in Paris for two weeks in a bid to curb the spread of the virus, the city’s police chief revealed.
But restaurants will remain open if strict hygiene rules are in place. On 4 October, France reported 12,565 cases of Covid-19. “These are breaking measures because the epidemic is moving too fast. We have to slow it down so that our health system is not overwhelmed,” police chief Didier Lallement said.
France’s maximum alert level comes into force when the infection rate in a locality exceeds 250 infections per 100,000 people and at least 30% of intensive care beds are reserved for Covid-19 patients. There are 203 active coronavirus ‘clusters’ in the wider Paris region, health officials say.
Paris restaurants will be allowed to stay open if they introduce strict anti-viral measures. “These measures, indispensable in the fight to curb the virus’ spread, will apply to Paris and the three departments immediately surrounding it, for a duration of two weeks,” the Prime Minister’s office explained.
Restaurants in the city will have to put in place new sanitary arrangements in order to stay open and university lecture halls must be no more than half-full. But restaurants and bistros that serve food as well as alcohol can stay open, as long as they register contact details from customers and shut their doors at night.
On 26 September, Marseille, France’s second city, closed all bars, restaurants and gyms for two weeks. Public venues including theatres, museums and cinemas have also had to close unless they could introduce strict anti-viral measures.