Bars, gyms and swimming pools in Paris and its metropolitan region will be closed for two weeks to contain the resurgence of cases of coronavirus, under new measures that do authorize -with limitations- the opening of restaurants.
The French government declared the Paris region a “high alert zone” on Sunday, and on Monday authorities announced details of restrictions that will take effect on Tuesday. As anticipated, bars and cafeterias, until now with limited opening hours, will have to lower their blinds for at least two weeks.
The restaurants will be able to remain open if they comply with “a new sanitary protocol,” according to Police Prefect Didier Lallement. Among the measures that would come into effect are limiting the number of people per table to six or guaranteeing the safety distance between customers.
Theaters and cinemas will remain open, as will shopping centers, while gyms and swimming pools will be closed, limited only to use by minors and in a school setting. Neither will they be able to open game rooms or dance halls.
The French authorities have taken this step because they understand that a level of “3,500 new cases per day” and an incidence rate that is already “over 200 per 100,000 inhabitants” is unbearable, as explained by the director general of the regional health agency, Aurélien Rousseau.
In the group of young people between 20 and 30 years, the cumulative incidence rate is already close to 500. The authorities will reduce the capacity in universities after the latest outbreaks detected in these centers, where they have urged extreme precautions.
Rousseau has warned that the hospital pressure “is strong”, as it is expected to reach 50 percent occupancy in ICU beds over the next two weeks. The mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, is confident, however, that the measures announced on Monday will “prevent overloading”.
The authorities have advocated teleworking where possible to limit social interactions, while keeping the maximum number of people who can meet on the public road at 10. Hidalgo has stated that they will continue to be “extremely vigilant”, although he is confident that the situation will “improve” in these 15 days.