French Gov Shuts Down Bars,Cafes In Paris To Curb COVID-19 Spread

Bars and cafes in Paris, placed on maximum coronavirus alert Monday, will be shuttered for two weeks under new measures to fight the rapid spread of the epidemic, but restaurants will remain open, officials said.

With the rate of new infections, hospitalisations and deaths accelerating months after the lifting of a nationwide lockdown, new rules on social distancing will enter into force starting Tuesday.

“These are braking measures because the epidemic is moving too fast,” Paris police chief Didier Lallement told journalists.

Bars and cafes have continued to draw large crowds often flouting physical distancing and mask-wearing guidelines.

But restaurants, described as establishments with the main business of serving food, can continue to operate provided they meet stricter new conditions, which will be announced later Monday.

Aurelien Rousseau, director of the ARS regional health agency, said Paris has crossed three thresholds that require its reclassification as a region on maximum alert: the general rate of virus prevalence, its spread among older people at higher risk of serious illness and the number of intensive care hospital beds taken up by coronavirus patients — now at 36 percent.

He said there were 203 active coronavirus “clusters” in the Paris Ile-de-France region.

Labour Minister Elisabeth Borne in a tweet urged employers and workers in Paris and other zones on maximum alert “to work from home as much as possible to slow the spread of the virus”.

Sunday Akintoye

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