France will return to a state of national health emergency
France enters a new state of health emergency tomorrow, giving the government increased powers to enforce measures to stop the spread of the virus. These could include additional local restrictions and travel limits.
The previous state of health emergency announced at the start of the health pandemic in France lasted nearly four months and ended on July 10.
The recommended “rule of six”
The president asked the French to limit private gatherings to a maximum of six people.
The rule applies to groups of people who do not come from the same household. This means that families aged seven and over who live in the same household can continue to eat together, for example.
The rule of six is intended to apply in private spaces where wearing a mask is not mandatory. As masks are compulsory in the workplace, groups of more than six people can meet at work if necessary, although this is not recommended.
New rules for restaurants
The rule of six will also be implemented in restaurants, with six now being the maximum table size. Other health protocols to introduce include having hand sanitizer on tables and recording client names and contact details to facilitate contact tracing.
Other public spaces with seating, such as cinemas and theaters, should leave every other seat empty.
Read more: Restaurants say French Covid curfew will force closure
Private parties prohibited in spaces open to the public
Prime Minister Jean Castex announced that private parties in places open to the public are prohibited due to the state of health emergency.
This includes weddings and student parties – although for weddings the rule will not be applied until after this weekend (October 17-18).
Homework is advised, rather than directed, by the government, with the president encouraging at least “two or three days of remote work per week” if possible.
On Thursday, October 15, companies were encouraged to notify employees of the minimum number of days they could work from home each week. In the public sector, employees must have a schedule with at least two or three working days from home per week.
The StopCovid app gets a makeover
The new version of the StopCovid application will be launched on October 22, renamed “Tous Anti-Covid” (Everyone against Covid).
The president said the first version of the app “didn’t work” because few people were using it. It is hoped that more people in France will download and use the updated version.
Read more: France will launch the “more interactive” StopCovid application
Covid-19 tests to speed up
The president promised a new test strategy in France to “drastically reduce waiting times”.
He said new techniques such as rapid antigen tests (which take 15 to 30 minutes to show results) and self-test would be introduced.
Salary increases for health workers
The health consultative group Le Ségur de la santé has suggested that salary increases of up to € 93 per month for some health workers in hospitals and retirement homes should come into effect before the end of the year, according to the Prime Minister.
Health workers in hospitals and elderly care homes received salary increases of up to € 90 per month in September 2020 and are expected to receive a salary reassessment in March of next year. Under the circumstances, this was put forward.
Financial assistance to people on RSA and ALP
People receiving RSA or ALP benefits will receive a one-off maintenance allowance of € 150, with a supplement of € 100 per child.
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