Europe, Latest on coronavirus outbreak

France lifts final COVID-19 restrictions

Facing a vastly curbed pandemic, country attempts to return to normalcy with ending of curfew, return of nightlife

Cindi Cook   | 21.06.2021
France lifts final COVID-19 restrictions

PARIS

France announced on Monday the final relaxing of restrictions in the coronavirus pandemic, with Culture Minister Roselyne Bachelot holding a news conference to discuss the lifts after morning meetings with some top industry professionals of the country, according to BFM TV.

Standing concerts -- as opposed to seated -- will resume as of June 30, with limitations on the size of the crowds, whether indoors or outdoors.

Bachelot said the government had ruled to “reopen standing concerts from June 30 ... with a 75% in indoor establishments, and 100% outdoors.” A health pass -- proof of vaccination or a recent negative coronavirus test result -- “will only be required for standing concerts for more than 1,000 expected spectators." This is the situation being upheld at present for shows that are seated. Rapid screening tests will be set up outside certain concerts during the summer season for those who would like to gain admission but do not have a test result in hand.

The minister added another bit of good news for those weary from the pandemic restriction: masks will not be compulsory but recommended at concert venues.

Nightclubs are to reopen as of July 9. The curfew for all of France was lifted last night, with bars, cafes, and nightclubs returning to late closing times as usual.

Both standing concerts and nightclubs have been closed for the past 15 months due to the spread of the coronavirus.

France’s COVID-19 cases as well as fatalities have seen steady declines over the still-high numbers that plagued the country throughout the spring. Even into late May, new daily infections loomed in the 20,000-30,000 range, kept there by a persistent virus with new strains along with a population weary of getting vaccinated.

According to Monday’s figures from the Health Ministry, 31,981,541 people have received at least one dose of the available vaccines in France. Vaccines are currently being given at each city’s municipal buildings as well as at local pharmacies, doctor’s offices, and health clinics.

To date, 110,767 people died in France and 5,757,311 cases have been recorded since the start of data tracking by the Health Ministry for the pandemic in March 2020. The test positivity rate currently stands at only 1% out of every 100,000 people, a key -- and in this case very positive -- marker for how the pandemic is slowing down.

France still ranks fourth globally in terms of the severity of the virus, according to data by the US-based Johns Hopkins University.

In a statement on Sunday to the weekend news magazine Le Journal du Dimanche, Health Minister Olivier Veran expressed a note of triumph over the virus.

“With 2,000 to 3,000 cases a day, it is no longer the virus that is tracking us, it is us that are tracking it,” he said.

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