France to Ease Lockdown as Second Wave Passes
France was set to relax its lockdown restrictions beginning this weekend after the second wave of infection has passed, President Emmanuel Macron announced.
The easing would include the reopening of non-essential shops so that people would be able to share “moments with the family” during Christmas.
However, bars and restaurants would remain closed until January 20, 2021.
But in a Twitter post, Macron said that bars and restaurants affected can opt to receive 10,000 euros from the solidarity fund or a payment of 20% of their turnover.
In a televised address on Tuesday evening, Macron announced that France has passed the peak of the second wave of virus infections.
He added that the majority of the restrictions would be eased from December 15 for the festive period, with the reopening of cinemas and the lifting of travel restrictions, as long as the average number of daily cases would not exceed 5,000.
On Monday, France saw coronavirus cases at 4,452, its lowest so far since September 28.
Macron said successful vaccine trials offered a glimmer of hope and that France aims to begin vaccinations beginning end-December or at the beginning of January.
He said the vaccines would begin with the elderly and most vulnerable.
The situation will be reviewed on January 20. If infections remained low by that time, he said bars and restaurants would then be allowed to open while universities would be able to accept students again.
On the other hand, if the situation worsens, Macron said that he would look into measures to avoid the third wave.
“We must do everything to avoid the third wave, do everything to avoid a third lockdown,” Macron said.
Ski resorts will remain closed until next year as the current risks associated with the virus made it difficult for such businesses to resume.
It can be learned that a huge number of coronavirus cases in Europe were owed to skiing in the early days of the pandemic.
Macron said the lockdown would be replaced by a nationwide curfew between 21:00 and 07:00, except on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.
France has reported more than 2.2 million cases since the start of the outbreak, of which 50,000 have died.
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