PARIS – France will ease its lockdown but will maintain stricter-than-expected measures, such as closing theaters and cinemas and imposing a strict curfew, Prime Minister Jean Castex announced on Friday.
The French government initially hoped to lift many restrictions before Christmas as part of a three-step easing of the lockdown, provided new cases fell to 5,000 a day.
“We are not yet at the end of the second wave, and we will not be at the target we have set of 5,000 new cases per day by December 15,” Castex said, before pointing out. that the holidays presented a risk of third wave. .
Over the past two weeks, France has recorded an average of more than 10,000 new cases per day.
“We have to keep guard… we have to let everyone enjoy the holidays, but without risking a resurgence of the epidemic,” he added.
France will still come out of strict lockdown starting December 15, with long-distance domestic travel allowed and no paperwork required to exit from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. A curfew will be put in place one hour earlier than planned, from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.
The curfew will be lifted for Christmas Eve but not for New Years Eve as previously suggested. A limit of six adults is recommended for gatherings.
Theaters, cinemas and sports arenas will remain closed for at least three more weeks – they were supposed to reopen on December 15.