Stricter rules will apply in Paris and three northeastern regions than the rest of France as the country lifts its lockdown next week.
French regions of Hauts-de-France, Bourgogne-Franche-Comté and Great East, as well as Paris and its surrounding Ile-de-France area, were flagged “red” by the government because “the coronavirus still circulates” there, prime minister Edouard Philippe said on Thursday.
The lockdown will be lifted everywhere apart from the overseas territory of Mayotte, where the situation is not yet under control, Philippe added.
Shops, businesses and small cultural places such as libraries will reopen in France on 11 May. Cafés, restaurants and theatres will remain closed.
Small gatherings of up to 10 allowed
Groups of 10 people maximum will be allowed to meet when the lockdown is lifted.
While restrictions will be eased, citizens will still need to justify trips of more than 100 km from their homes, the French Interior minister said on Thursday. Those found breaking this rule will be fined €135.
On 2 June, the rules will be reassessed, the minister said, but no event with more than 5,000 people will be organised until September.
About 400,000 businesses are about to reopen.
“The social and economic life will start again,” France’s economy minister Bruno Le Maire said.
France’s borders will remain closed to non-EU citizens until further notice.
Stricter rules in Paris and four ‘red’ French regions
In Paris and its Ile-de-France region, the virus is still circulating, the prime minister said. There will be strict rules on public transport and people are advised to reduce movements to a minimum.
In the French capital, workers will need documentation from their employer to justify using the city’s transport network.
In Mayotte, the prime minister said, the pandemic must be “brought under control” and the lockdown will remain in place for now.
The French regions marked as “green” because the number of coronavirus cases has slowed will be allowed to reopen high schools, cafés and restaurants if they remain “green” for three weeks after 11 May, Philippe said.
In “green” regions, parks and secondary schools can reopen from 18 May.
“The situation in Ile-de-France remains concerning,” the French health minister Olivier Véran said.
“France is ready to start testing massively,” Véran added.