France’s escalating COVID-19 situation has prompted lawmakers to tighten emergency restrictions once again. Last week, a ban on festive gatherings was imposed in Paris on top of a 10:00 PM bar and nightclub cutoff introduced at the end of September. Now, one third of the country’s population will be bound by a strict nightly 9:00 PM-6:00 AM curfew.
The guidance was announced by French President Emmanuel Macron during a televised October 14th interview. He cited private gatherings as the biggest breeding grounds for the coronavirus, for which case counts of over 20,000 have been reported in three of the past six days. He called for an end to “the parties, the moments of conviviality where there are 50 or 60 people, festive evenings because, unfortunately, these are vectors for the acceleration of the disease.”
Case counts began to climb again in July and August after French authorities lifted lockdowns, and compared to other countries they were slow to react. Spain and Italy – the two European nations hit hardest when the pandemic first unfolded in the spring – reimposed bans on bars and nightclubs in an effort to curb their own COVID-19 resurgences.
The 9:00 PM curfew will go into effect in the Paris region as well as Marseille, Toulouse, Grenoble, Montpellier, Rouen, Lyon, Saint-Etienne and Lille on Saturday, October 17th. It will remain in effect for at least four weeks, with a two-week extension pending a parliamentary vote.
Image credit: Dawid Łabno