France will start easing its Covid-19 lockdown this weekend so that at Christmas shops, theaters and cinemas reopen and people can spend the holidays with the rest of their families, the French president said on Tuesday. Emmanuel Macron.
In a televised address to the nation, Macron said the worst of the second wave of the pandemic in France was over, but restaurants, cafes and bars are expected to remain closed until January.
“We must do everything in our power to avoid a third wave and a third lockdown,” said the French president.
“We have slowed the spread of the virus,” Macron said, “but it’s still very much present.”
French stores were allowed to reopen on Saturday, in time for the Christmas shopping season which is crucial for many retailers who have been lobbying for a return to business.
In the three-step path out of the lockdown described by Macron, people will also be able to exercise outside for three hours a day starting on Saturday, although they still need a permit to leave. the House. Indoor religious services may resume, but the number of worshipers will be capped at 30 people.
France aims to lift the national lockdown on December 15, but Macron has said a 9:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. curfew will remain in place. Cinemas and theaters will also be allowed to reopen.
The curfew will be relaxed on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve and the French will be able to travel between regions – and without a permit – to spend Christmas with their families.
The French must however avoid “unnecessary travel,” he said, calling on them to respect social distancing measures throughout the holiday season.
If the Covid-19 situation continues to improve, bars, cafes and restaurants will be allowed to reopen from January 20. Universities will be allowed to resume teaching in person and gymnasiums will be able to reopen.
Macron also said he would launch a vaccination campaign in late December or early January, starting with the most vulnerable and the oldest, adding that vaccination would not be mandatory.
Covid-19 infection rates have fallen sharply last week since the government imposed a nationwide lockdown on October 30.
The infection rate in France per 100,000 inhabitants is now less than a third of what it was at the beginning of November, and the number of people hospitalized and in intensive care has been falling for a week.
However, France continues to report hundreds of Covid-19-related deaths every day. A few minutes before Macron’s speech, the death toll from Covid-19 in the country exceeded 50,000 while its infection rate of 2,153,815 remains the highest in Europe.
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