French capital bans outdoor drinking on weekends over Covid-19 risks
Paris police warned on Friday that the consumption of alcohol outdoors will be banned across the capital this weekend, in the hope of avoiding a repeat of the huge crowds that have gathered in public places over recent weeks, in defiance of France's Covid-19 regulations.
Authorities had already banned outdoor drinking in a handful of popular areas of the capital during weekends last month, a move followed by police in several other French cities.
From Friday, alcohol will be prohibited in more than a dozen other streets and squares as well as on the banks of the Seine, where hundreds of people gathered last weekend to enjoy a taste of spring weather -- to the dismay of doctors commenting on TV.
Officers will also order the evacuation of areas where social distancing rules are not being respected, the police department has warned.
Next three weekends
The bans will remain in place for the next three weekends at least, after officials decided against a new lockdown for the Paris region despite signs the coronavirus is spreading more rapidly.
Prime Minister Jean Castex on Thursday placed a third zone -- the northern Pas-de-Calais region -- in lockdown after a surge in cases.
"The images we saw again last weekend in some big cities, including Paris, are quite simply unacceptable," he said, while also announcing that shopping centres of more than 10,000 square metres would be shuttered nationwide.
Already shopping malls of more than 20,000 square metres are closed, as the government hopes to avoid a third national lockdown that would further pummel the economy.
On Thursday, officials reported 25,279 new Covid-19 cases in the previous 24 hours and 295 deaths, bringing the total number of fatalities to 87,861.
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