Published on : Friday, May 29, 2020
France has decided to relax further travel restrictions inside the country after it recorded decreasing cases of coronavirus disease in the past few weeks. Prime Minister Edouard Philippe officially announced that the ban on travelling more than 100km (62 miles) would finally come to an end on June 2. The country has also decided to reopen cafes, bars and restaurants in the areas considered to be green zones due to much lower rate of COVID-19 infections on the same day. Schools have also been given permission to begin reopening from next week.
On Thursday, Prime Minister Philippe said in a statement that freedom will once again become the rule in France and restrictions will become the exception. However, he also mentioned that though the health situation is good, it is not yet ready to go back on being normal and every individual have to be careful while the country gradually reopens. His speech marked the second phase of lifting lockdown restrictions after the first phase was carried out on May 11. In light of the coronavirus pandemic, France went into a two-month lockdown restricting all kinds of non-essential travel. The latest relaxation brings a sense of relief for hoteliers and restaurant owners ahead of an expected to be a summer holiday season that can help facilitate domestic tourism like never before.
According to reports, establishments in orange areas like Paris would only be given the permission to reopen outside terraces. But parks and gardens in Paris have been allowed to reopen. Secondary schools and lycées in green areas will resume activities while following health measures. Theaters, gyms and swimming pools in green zones can also reopen from June 2. All cinemas across France have been allowed to resume operations from June 22. Teleworking services also continue to be encouraged.
The ease of travel restrictions also comes with various safety protocols and rules. Travel and lockdown relaxation in orange zones might be delayed by three weeks. Most classes in orange zones are not likely to restart activities before September. Meanwhile, schools in green zones cannot have more than 15 students in each class. A gathering of more than 10 people will not be allowed to sit together. All kitchen and restaurant staffs have been asked to use face masks. Tables at eateries have been asked to be spaced one metre away from each other. Nightclubs will continue to remain closed as of now. All offices, factories and restaurants have also been asked to observe continued special hygiene measures.
On the other hand, it has also been announced by the Prime Minister than said the country’s external borders would remain closed until June 15. Although, reopening borders to European Union nationals in coordination with other EU27 states can be expected. Therefore, foreign travel is expected to begin from mid-June. As travel restrictions start to lift gradually, social distancing measures continue to remain in force. It is also mandatory for all travellers to wear face masks while using public transport and even while travelling inside locality.