French cinemas and other cultural venues must remain closed until at least the end of January, French Prime Minister Jean Castex said at a press conference tonight local time. This move is not terribly surprising given that the daily rate of new Covid-19 cases in the country is well above the 5,000 threshold that was set as a bar when France entered a second lockdown in late October.
Earlier last month, Castex said theaters could not reopen on December 15 as originally hoped. At that time, movie theaters were to remain closed for at least three weeks. Today that has been extended through the rest of January with an update scheduled for January 20. In particular, the government is awaiting data from the recent holiday period.
2020 global box office collapses 71% to $ 12.4 billion amid impact of Covid: strength of international, piracy issues and hope dominate 2021 Chatter – Global ranking of studios
In addition to cinemas, museums, theaters and indoor sports facilities also remain closed. As for bars and restaurants, which were planning a resumption of activities on January 20, they should now remain closed until at least mid-February.
A nationwide curfew from 8:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. was installed on December 15 and will continue until at least January 20. The curfew was recently extended to 6:00 p.m. – 6:00 a.m. in 3:00 p.m. departments (similar to counties). Ten more, mainly in the eastern part of the country, could be included after consultation this week.
Castex also said the border closure with the UK will be extended until further notice. So far, in France, 19 cases of the new Covid variant that rocked Britain have been detected locally.
The possibility of a third full lockdown in France was not specifically raised, but Castex said stricter measures could be on the horizon. “Obviously I hope we can avoid it, but like many countries that have just taken such steps, we will need to react quickly if we see the virus accelerating again.
French cinemas were initially closed in March, as the country moved towards a tight lockdown that ended in May. Theaters were allowed to resume operations from June 22, with the box office performing well, on balance, before closing in October. For 2020, France was No. 3 in the overseas market, dropping from No. 5 in 2019.
The deployment of the vaccine began this week in France and the goal is to vaccinate 1 million people by the end of the month.