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France Emerges From Its Lockdown: President Macron Speaks

The much awaited speech from President Macron has just taken place, describing how he sees France emerging from the lockdown – expected from December 1. 

In fact the lockdown will officially remain in place until December 15th but there is enough improvement in the health situation to allow a relaxation of restrictions in three phases, from this weekend until January 20th after which a more normal life is targeted with cafes, restaurants, gyms and skiing centres open from January 20th. 

But until January 20th only the following relaxation of restrictions is envisaged.

Shops can Open From This Saturday November 28th

The owners of, for want of a better name, “non-essential” businesses will be able to reopen their doors on Saturday morning, without waiting for December 1. This applies in particular to shops, hairdressing salons, bookstores, libraries, etc. However, they will have to close at 9 p.m.

But people can travel further and spend more time shopping or exercising.

There is an end to the “1 hour, 1 kilometer” rule. From Saturday morning, the certificate, necessary for any trip, will be modified: the duration and the authorized perimeter will be extended to 20 kilometers and 3 hours.

Though the President emphasizes “the aim is still to stay at home as much as possible and to continue to favour working from home when possible”.

From December 15, The Lockdown is Replaced by a Curfew 

According to President Macron , from December 15, if the number of new daily contaminations drops to 3,000, confinement can be lifted and daytime travel will be authorized, without needing a certificate. 

Travelling between regions will be allowed which offers the possibility to spend Christmas with family. 

Cinemas, theaters and museums will be able to reopen from December 15th too according to the President.

So from December 15th , confinement will be lifted in France, and replaced by night restrictions instead from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. except for the special festive evenings of December 24 for Christmas and December 31st for New Year’s Eve. 

“Culture is essential to our life as citizens” recognises President Macron. This is why the entire cultural sector will be able to resume near-normal activity from December 15. A “time stamp” system will allow going beyond curfew times for shows, and in theaters and museums.

A More Normal Life From January 20th

A more normal life would see cafes, restaurants, gyms and skiing centres re-opening from January 20th. But there is a caveat: only if the health situation improves sufficiently to allow it bearing in mind a third wave of Covid-19 is to be avoided at all costs. 

School life, concerning high schools and universities, should normalize too from January 20th with more face to face contact. Universities would likely also return to a more normal mode as they open from the beginning of February.

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