Despite the fact that more patients were in intensive care in France on Monday, April 26, than at any time since the first surge in coronavirus cases in the spring of 2020, President Macron continues to offer hope that bars, cafes and restaurants will start to open from as early as May 3.

The much-awaited reopening will take place in stages in those Departments that are doing better in keeping case numbers down, which would include the Alpes-Maritimes, Macron said on Monday.

The President said there will be four stages of reopening, on May 3, in mid-May, at the start of June and another at the end of June.

“I think that we cannot reopen the restaurants, let’s say at the end of May or in June, in Departments where the virus still circulates a lot but in other (Departments) where it has gone down a lot, I think we will have to open them,” he said.

The details of the stages for reopening remain very vague, but emphasis will be placed on opening outside seating areas first as the risk of contamination is much lower.

Hospitality sector representatives have grown increasingly restive as the executive avoids committing to specific dates. There is particular concern in Paris, which continues to have a high rate of coronavirus cases and where relatively few establishments have an outdoor space.