After being subjected to one of the strictest quarantine measures in Europe amidst the new coronavirus, France is taking steps to reopen the country, albeit gradually and with a certain regional adaptation.
As of Monday, people will not be required to stay at home and will be allowed to meet in groups of up to 10 people indoors or outdoors.
For 55 days, French authorities asked people to follow social distancing guidelines and stay indoors as the number of cases in the country continued to increase, with the country now having the sixth largest number of COVID-19 cases worldwide, after the United States. , Spain, Italy, United Kingdom and Russia, according to data from the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. France was the first country in Europe to register cases of coronavirus.
On May 6, French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced that the country was where it should be to start phase 1 of its reopening on May 11.
Small shops and markets may open with restrictions on the number of people, while bars, restaurants, cafes and large museums will remain closed. Many schools will reopen on Tuesday. To support the return to work of 875,000 French people and the reopening of 400,000 companies, the wearing of a mask will be compulsory in public transport.
The biggest change for the more than 60 million people living in France will be the freedom to leave their homes again without an authorization form, which said their rationale for leaving their residence was among a list of seven approved reasons.
Jogging and other individual sports activities, prohibited during the day from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., will be allowed in Paris again at any time. But travel between regions and administrative districts will be limited: people are asked to travel no further than within 100 km (62 miles) of their home, unless they can demonstrate a compelling reason.
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However, the country still faces the challenge, in the words of the Prime Minister, of being “split in two.” Four regions, including the Paris metropolitan area, are still in the “red” zone to signify the continuing pressure on hospitals, and will remain subject to stricter directives, the colleges, parks and public gardens remaining closed.
The Prime Minister described phase 1 of France as “a regime of freedom in which exceptions must be organized”.
Under the blockade, the French economy went into recession, shrinking by about 6% in the first quarter of this year, which according to the National Bank of France was the lowest since 1945.
France’s economy had started to contract at the end of last year, but the coronavirus crisis plunged the country into a rapid downward spiral, with shops, restaurants and hotels remaining closed.
The epidemic killed more than 26,380 people in France and the country, which did not choose to test massively, recorded 176,782 cases in total. On May 10, 70 people died in 24 hours, the lowest number since isolation began on March 17.
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