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Public places in France set to reopen with restrictions

19 May 2021 22:20

PARIS. KAZINFORM - Authorities in France are appealing to residents to guard «collective responsibility» as several public places are set to reopen Wednesday after six months of restrictions because of a surge in coronavirus infections, Anadolu Agency reports.

The second phase of gradual lifting of the lockdown will be marked by the reopening of non-essential commercial shops, museums, cinema halls, theaters, outdoor terraces of cafes, restaurants and indoor sports centers, with certain restrictions. An evening curfew will be further relaxed from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The government issued a sanitary protocol for public places. Bars, restaurants and cafes can only open outdoor seating areas with 50% capacity. Indoor restaurants at hotels can reopen for guests.

Indoor swimming pools and sports centers will only be open for schools and extracurricular activities. Close confined spaces like cinemas and theaters can have a maximum of 35% seating and large concert halls will have a spectator capacity capped at a maximum of 800 people.

For gatherings of more than 1,000, a digital health pass providing details of vaccination and results of negative antigen/PCR tests will be mandatory beginning June 9.

Economy, Finance and Recovery Minister Bruno Le Maire said the reopening is a moment of joy for all and France must be a collective success. «It must be done in a responsible, progressive manner and respecting barrier gestures,» he said on Twitter.

Minister of Culture Roselyne Bachelot in an interview with the Le Parisien newspaper said, «there is a great appetite» amongst people for the reopening but it does not mean abandoning protective measures. «It means creating barriers between people ... wearing a mask, ventilation, distancing, flow management,» she said. «The world of culture anticipates all these measures ... we have to let the public know that they are safe.»

The ministry has also authorized the first musical concert in Paris on May 29 and another in Montpellier. Bachelot defended the decision as being «worth the effort.»

«We have to adapt to the epidemic ... this is what is struggling to percolate in public opinion,» she said, emphasizing that permission was given after scientific research and the development of protocols.

Similarly, the Fete de la Musique, or World Music Day, will be held June 21 with no restrictions of a health pass, she said.

Authorities are hoping to reach herd immunity by then with vaccination of nearly 50% of the adult population.