Addressing the Chamber of Deputies on Tuesday afternoon, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe warned that the number of new cases must be seen to be below 3,000 per day for the end of lockdown to start on May 11. His address started at 15:00 and lasted until 16:07. It was well-received and many deputies gave the prime minister a standing ovation.
Different regions of France have had varying degrees of infection, and will therefore emerge from lockdown at different speeds, he said. The decision will be taken on May 7 whether regions are green, amber or red.
As expected, students will start to go back to school from May 11, but under strict conditions. The number of children in each class will be limited to 15, and lycées and colleges will not resume until May 18. Masks will be compulsory, except for children under the age of three.
Home-working will be encouraged in order to minimise the number of people mingling and using public transport. The wearing of masks will be compulsory on public transport.
All shops will be allowed to open, but not yet bars and cafes. Certain rules must be followed, such as limiting the number of customers. However, shopping centres of more than 40,000 square metres will not be allowed to reopen at this stage. Community halls and recreational centres will remain closed.
A decision will be made at the end of May about whether bars, cafes and restaurants can open from June 2. Parks and gardens will not reopen except in ‘green’ Departments. Sport will be allowed outside, as long as its not contact sport. Beaches will remain off-limits at least until June 1, as will bigger museums, cinemas and theatres. Churches are discouraged to resume services until June.
Travel between France’s regions and Departments will be discouraged, unless travel is essential.
No plan will succeed without the support of the citizens, Mr Philippe said. He promised more consultations across the board, with regional leaders and representatives of all sectors of society. The Chamber will debate the PM’s proposals during the afternoon.
A plan for Monaco’s end to lockdown – due to start on May 4 – will be announced on Tuesday evening.
PHOTO: PM Edouard Philippe