France: Citizens escape to the countryside before lockdown

All schools will remain open during this lockdown

paris lockdown ap Two women walk in the deserted Chatelet area in the center of Paris | AP

 France began a new, more stringent lockdown on Friday as COVID-19 infections in Europe went past 10 million. The US is posting a daily tally of 90,000 cases. The new lockdown in France is different from the first one in several ways. The lockdown will affect 67 million people and is expected to last till December.

Paris witnessed a nearly 700-kilometre-long traffic jam as people rushed to flee to the countryside before the restrictions went into effect.

All schools—from kindergartens to high schools—will remain open during this lockdown. There will also be exceptions for certain sectors like the construction sector and the cultural sector. Musicians will be allowed to hold rehearsals and conduct in-studio recordings, and film and theatre workers will be allowed to conduct rehearsals and film crews can continue shooting.

Public services like administrative offices will remain open, as will retirement homes, places of public worship and funeral homes. Weddings will be allowed to be conducted with a maximum attendance of 30 guests. Parks, forests and beaches will not be shut for the public this time around either.

Gyms, recreational centres and sports clubs will be shut, mask wearing will be mandatory in all public spaces. Bars, cafés and sit-down restaurants will remain shut, while takeaway providers, food shops and supermarkets, pharmacies, tobacco shops, petrol stations, fruit and vegetable markets will remain open. Holding private gatherings like birthday parties will not be allowed; public gatherings won’t be permitted either. Citizens will be allowed an hour of exercise outside their homes, but it will have to be done within a kilometre of their residence.

Services for public transport will be limited. Employers have asked employees to work from home as much as possible during the lockdown and only essential travel will be permitted. Hotels will be open to accommodate essential travellers, but food and drink will be available only via room service.


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