France introduces a fine for not wearing a mask in closed public spaces

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                Les Français risquent une amende de 135 euros (154 $) à compter de lundi pour non-respect d'un nouveau décret portant le port du masque dans les lieux publics à l'intérieur, a annoncé le gouvernement.
            

Alors que les responsables ont noté des signes d'une augmentation de la circulation du virus, le Premier ministre Jean Castex a déclaré jeudi que les masques deviendraient obligatoires dans les espaces publics fermés à partir de la semaine prochaine afin de prévenir une deuxième vague d'infections à coronavirus.

Masks are already mandatory on public transport, punishable by a fine of the same amount, in a country that has lost more than 30,150 people to the epidemic.

The Minister of Health said on Saturday that the new requirement will come into force on Monday and will apply to stores and supermarkets, covered fresh food markets, banks and other establishments that welcome members of the public.

And on Sunday, the health service announced that the tickets could be sanctioned with a fine of up to 135 euros, almost double the price of a monthly subscription to Parisian public transport.

For people working in communal offices, the government said employers will have to judge the need to wear a mask on a case-by-case basis.

The French public health service noted over the weekend that the so-called “R” indicating the rate of viral transmission rose to more than one, which means that each infected person in turn infects around 1, 2 persons.

According to the latest official data, released Wednesday, France had 119 new coronavirus patients hospitalized in 24 hours, up from a peak of 4,281 people hospitalized in one day in April.

One of the hardest-hit countries in Europe, France is almost out of a week-long national lockdown to contain the COVID-19 outbreak, which had put immense pressure on its hospital system.

The French government, like many other countries, has advised against wearing masks at the start of the epidemic, urging people to reserve limited supply of masks for healthcare workers and arguing that they are not really working for the fight against infections.

But since the lockdown was partially lifted on May 11, wearing a mask is mandatory on public transport and mandatory for entry to facilities such as the Louvre, Disneyland Paris and the Eiffel Tower.

Restaurateurs must also wear them, just like customers before sitting down to eat.

France has embarked on a mask production campaign after initially having to rely on imports from countries like China.

(AFP)

            

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