It’s a joyful day in France today as many of the lockdown restrictions are being lifted across the country after the Covid-19 crisis. The health situation has significantly improved, as is demonstrated by the government’s colour-coded map of the country’s geographic regions, metropolitan areas, and overseas territories, categorising “green”, “orange,” and “red” zones, indicating the presence of the virus. The rules for the end-of-lockdown regulations depend on this colour classification. (At this point, the only “orange” zone in mainland France is the Paris region because the coronavirus is still actively circulating; the rest of the Hexagon is “green.”)
Bars and restaurants have reopened, as well as some museums, theatres, parks, beaches and cultural attractions. In Paris, only the restaurant terrasses are allowed to open, but some have been allowed to spread out onto the streets, and they are already packed. Parisians are flocking to their favourite sidewalk cafés for a cup of coffee with friends (respecting the proper social distancing measures, bien sûr). Today the ban on travelling to a destination distant of more than 100km from one’s residence has also lifted. And campgrounds and hotels in the green zones are permitted to reopen. Note that gatherings of more than 5,000 people will remain prohibited until at least September.
Looking ahead to the next phase of the reopening, the French hospitality industry has high hopes for the summer. Caroline Leboucher, the CEO of Atout France, the French tourism development agency, made the following statement:
“We await with anticipation Monday 15 June and the confirmation that EU borders will reopen. Professionals working within the French tourism industry have worked alongside the French Government to put together health protocols which will guarantee the safety of their employees and visitors, and encourage best practices. Beaches, countryside and mountain areas where people go walking or practise outdoor sports, culture and heritage sites, restaurants and tourist accommodation are all ready to welcome tourists again, who should, we hope, be able to enjoy the French way of life, enjoy a morning café crème and croissant on a terrace, share a French meal with friends, or meet up and enjoy some tasty food and wine together.”