France to apply strict measures for New Year’s Eve

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PARIS

New Years Eve promises to be a moderate affair in France with strict measures including an 8 p.m. curfew and the deployment of a 100,000-strong police force for vigilance as authorities expect the possibility of new uncontrolled cases of COVID-19 starting in January.

Given the current restrictions, most French people will have to spend the last evening of the year at home. In the capital Paris, where revelers usually flock to the Champs Elysees for the festivities or around the Eiffel Tower with champagne in hand for the countdown to midnight, police and gendarmes will be in the streets to interrupt large gatherings in public places. .

The exclusive New Year’s Eve dinner in gourmet restaurants, drinks in bars and a party night in nightclubs are canceled as all outdoor venues, including theaters, remain closed. This means that the glamorous but expensive evenings of the Moulin Rouge and Lido cabaret clubs in Paris, including a dinner with caviar, lobster and champagne, will also be off the table.

Instead, the City of Paris and UNESCO will be hosting a digital “Welcome to the Other Side” concert inside the recently restored Notre Dame Cathedral. The concert with French electronic music artist Jean-Michel Jarre will be broadcast live for people celebrating at home.

Despite the proposed surveillance measures, French social networks have been in turmoil with invitations to underground parties. Such parties, involving gatherings of more than six people, have been held during detention on weekends since October. Earlier in December, a police intervention at one of those parties in the Bouches-du-Rhône in Marseille found up to 500 revelers without masks. Similar festivals also took place in Loire-Atlantique in Nantes Bas-Rhin in Strasbourg, Lille, Grenoble, Lyon, Saint-Étienne and in Paris where the police dispersed at least three illegal gatherings.

The public health department’s scientific council, advising the government on COVID-19, has warned of the possibility of an uncontrolled resumption of the pandemic in the new year, as it expects the measures surveillance are respected for the end-of-year gathering. very uncertain.

In an update on the pandemic situation on December 22, the council observed with concern that “it is likely that such an increase in contamination will lead to an uncontrolled resumption of the epidemic within a few weeks, a sharp increase in hospitalizations, intensive care placements and deaths. “

He further noted that the restrictive measures in place since October have considerably reduced the circulation of the SARSCoV-2 virus but “there has been no improvement in the epidemiological situation since the beginning of December and there is even a slight deterioration. . “

According to its recommendations, the health authorities will apply a curfew from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. from January 2 in 20 departments of the high-risk regions of Grand Est, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur and Burgundy -Franche-Comté. The mayors of Nice, Metz and Nancy, however, expressed their concerns over the increase in the number of cases and called for a local reconfiguration instead of a limited curfew.

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