France allows religious gatherings, but worshipers must wear masks

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PARIS – France must allow religious gatherings to resume after a two-month hiatus caused by the COVID-19 epidemic, but the faithful will have to wear masks, the French Interior Ministry announced.

On Friday evening, the ministry announced that it would issue a decree setting out new rules for religious gatherings.

Under the decree, the ban on rallies imposed in March as part of the government’s efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus would be lifted. But the collective worship will have to respect conditions, in particular the wearing of masks, a distance of at least one meter between the faithful and the washing of hands, the ministry said in a statement.

The French government relaxed some of its blocking restrictions earlier this month, but did not relax the ban on collective worship. This prompted complaints from faith groups, who said they were being treated unfairly.

The ministry statement said he expected worship to resume from early June, but in some cases religious groups could worship together after the new rules were released, which he said would be “In the next few hours”.

Muslims – who make up about 9% of the French population, according to a 2017 report from the Pew Research Center – are celebrating Eid al-Fitr, the festival marking the end of the holy month of Muslim fasting, this weekend. (Report by Christian Lowe;)

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