President Emmanuel Macron announced on Tuesday how France would emerge from its second lockdown on December 2.
Importantly, the family will be allowed to congregate in a more limited capacity from Christmas to December 31, but ski resorts will not be allowed to open for the start of the season and cafes, restaurants and bars must remain closed until that another decision be taken on January 20.
Currently in France only essential stores are open (mainly to buy food and medicine), transport is only allowed to go to school or to work (working from home should be the default option for most people) and while exercise can be taken near the house and people are allowed to walk the pets, it should be done within an hour and no more than 1 km from the House. No one is allowed to travel outside of his region and he is not allowed to visit friends. Everyone must have a attestation, a form downloaded from the Internet, to leave their home.
There are signs that infection rates and hospitalization rates are starting to stabilize and the R-number – the number of people an infected person is likely to infect – is starting to decline. As reported by Le local, the test positivity rate has increased from 20% to 13.3% and the R rate is 0.65 (which means that each new case of Covid will infect less than one new person on average).
This is encouraging news, but rates remain extremely high – there were still 4,452 new Covid-19 cases reported on Monday (up from a peak of 50,000 new cases daily).
This has encouraged the government to reduce travel restrictions for a public tired of being confined to their homes – Macron announced that “the peak of the second wave has passed”.
New French Covid-19 rules until January 20
Starting Saturday, November 28, non-essential shops can open until 9 p.m. (under the strictest sanitary conditions), people can leave their homes for three hours (instead of one) and travel up to 20 km (instead of 1 km). And outdoor school activities can restart.
From December 15, if the number of daily cases is not more than 5,000 and the number of people in intensive care is less than 3,000 per day, the lockdown will be lifted but the country will move to a national curfew between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. Travel between regions and meetings with family and friends will be allowed, and cinemas and theaters will be allowed to open.
Between December 24 and 31, the curfew will be lifted but the same rules will be in place.
From January 20, we hope that – if the sanitary conditions are met – the country will be able to start reopening; sports centers, gymnasiums, bars, restaurants and cafes.
The date of January 20 has been decided to allow the Covid-19 impacts of the New Year’s celebrations to be passed on to the entire population. It is hoped that universities can open on February 4 for in-person classes.
This is the worst news possible for ski resorts and the hospitality industry in general, which have been closed for months and are struggling, especially those that cannot offer take-out services.
Macron added that the government “will do everything in its power to avoid a third wave and a third lockdown.”