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Daytime jogging banned in Paris as France tightens confinement rules

A lone jogger watches police on the Champs de Mars near the Eiffel Tower in Paris on 7 April 2020, a day before a citywide ban on daytime exercise came into effect in hopes of reinforcing measures to slow the spread of Covid-19.
A lone jogger watches police on the Champs de Mars near the Eiffel Tower in Paris on 7 April 2020, a day before a citywide ban on daytime exercise came into effect in hopes of reinforcing measures to slow the spread of Covid-19. REUTERS - GONZALO FUENTES
4 min

A ban on outdoor exercise in the French capital has come into effect as more cities and regions tightened measures to stop the Covid-19 spread, which continues after three weeks of nationwide confinement. 

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A ban on outdoor physical exercise between 10am and 7pm came into effect in Paris on Wednesday, following orders from the mayor’s office and police headquarters issued the previous day. 

“Paris police, together with Paris city hall, have reinforced confinement rules by limiting individual physical exercise,” the police headquarters said in a tweet.

“These sorties are no longer authorised between 10am and 7pm.” 

The move comes after weekend images of Parisians taking advantage of fair spring weather to walk and run in the streets brought warnings from health and public officials.

“We’ve seen there are too many people in the streets,” said Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, underlining that the idea was not to ban exercise but to cut down on the number of people in public at times when residents are also shopping and working. 

“During the day, people are doing their shopping, which is natural, and others are going to work.”

'Too many joggers'

Nationwide confinement rules allow people to leave their homes for essential supplies, medical visits, helping the needy and for those required to work, as well as one-hour sorties for exercise and walking with family members and pets within a kilometre radius. 

Officials said short walks with family members and pets were still permitted at all hours and the new restriction was aimed at joggers.

“There are, in certain parts of Paris, too many joggers at the same time, mixed with the population,” said Deputy Mayor Emmanuel Grégoire. “We’ve observed that early in the morning or late in the evening, before 10am or after 7pm, there are fewer people in the streets”.

The suburban districts of Val-de-Marne and Seine-et-Marne took the same measures.

Local councils oblige face masks, remove benches

The new restrictions in Paris come after Interior Minister Christophe Castaner told state and local councils on Monday they could toughen measures to ensure physical distancing

Some local councils have made covering the mouth and nose obligatory, including the Paris suburb of Sceaux, where residents 10 years and older must cover their face before leaving the home. 

The city of Béziers in southern France has begun removing benches to avoid people consorting in public.

“Due to declining respect for the confinement, the city has decided to remove public benches,” read a tweet from the official city account.

The overseas department of Guadeloupe banned any movement in public on the island for the duration of Easter weekend. 

In addition to toughening measures, officials are suggesting confinement itself will need to be extended beyond its current limit of 15 April. 

“Lifting confinement makes no sense today,” said top health official Jérôme Salomon on Tuesday. 

A scientific council advising the government on how to manage the epidemic said Wednesday the national confinement in place since 17 March should be extended for several weeks. 

 

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