France orders 10 meters between joggers and cyclists

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Paris (AFP)

The French Sports Ministry said on Thursday that joggers and cyclists will have to stay at least 10 meters (33 feet) apart once the residence orders are lifted on May 11.

The measures are designed to prevent a wave of new cases of coronavirus.

Running has become a popular way to take a break from the national lockdown in place since mid-March, as short exercise getaways close to home are among the few accepted reasons for being outdoors.

But officials were alarmed by scenes of hundreds of runners thronging on sunny sidewalks and walks in recent weeks, which has even led Paris authorities to ban day racing.

French guidelines urge people to maintain at least one meter of social distance in public, but a preliminary study that went viral in early April suggested that it was not enough for runners or cyclists.

The study suggested that drafts generated by rapidly moving bodies could spread virus particles from infected athletes much further than a stationary person.

The results were not published in a peer-reviewed journal.

However, the sports ministry said it wanted “a minimum distance of 10 meters between two people who cycle or jog.”

He did not specify how the measure would be applied in Paris and other overcrowded cities, where runners often cross paths on sidewalks and trails.

For yoga, tennis, and other activities, the ministry advised making sure each participant had four square meters (43 square feet) of personal space.

In any case, no more than 10 people will be allowed to gather for a group activity, and changing rooms will be prohibited.

Team sports such as football will also remain banned, the statement said.

The ministry recalled that no professional sports match would take place before August, even in empty stadiums, and the French football and rugby leagues announced their season on Thursday.

The new rules came in while France unveiled aid of 20 million euros ($ 21.8 million) this week to encourage the use of bicycles after locking, which could reduce congestion in transport. public and also to avoid an increase in the use of the car by people fearing contagion.

The funds will include a 50-euro grant for the development of some 30 million used bikes in the country, the environment ministry announced on Wednesday.

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