High hopes as French PM prepares to reveal second phase of lockdown exit
The people of France are nervously waiting to learn what phase 2 of the country’s gradual lockdown exit, to begin on 2 June, will mean for future holidays, parties and dining out in restaurants.
After a defence council meeting on Thursday, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe is expected to announce measures that could pave the way for the reopening of restaurants, cinemas and high schools and put an end to rules limiting movement to within 100 kilometres.
Lockdown restrictions were first eased on 11 May according to a colour-coded map of France indicating where the coronavirus causing Covid-19 was most dangerous, with more stringent measures maintained in designated “red zones”.
The map, which will again be updated on Thursday, has shown the central and north-eastern Ile-de-France, Hauts-de-France, Grand-Est and Bourgogne-Franche-Comté regions mostly red.
As the number of intensive care patients continues to drop in France, now in its third week of “deconfinement”, many are hopeful that phase 2 will see more flexibility and perhaps a “green” designation for all of France’s departments.
The French have already been told they can start booking summer holidays for July and August, but they must remain within the country.
“We absolutely do not invite the French to book their holidays abroad,” Ecological Transition Minister Élisabeth Borne told France Inter radio.
The prime minister’s upcoming announcement is expected to offer greater clarity on the subject of holidays, as well as the conditions under which bars and restaurants will be permitted to open.
So far public authorities and catering professionals have been working to define health protocols, such as client distancing and masks for staff, before customers can be welcomed again.
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