The Daily Telegraph

Bars and cafes close as Paris hits ‘max­i­mum Covid alert’

- By Henry Samuel in Paris Paris · Hidalgo, TX · France

BARS and cafés in Paris and sur­round­ing dis­tricts will close for two weeks from to­day as the French cap­i­tal is placed un­der “max­i­mum Covid alert”.

How­ever, in a glim­mer of good news for Parisians, restau­rants can re­main open un­der tight­ened re­stric­tions.

“We are all well aware that we’re en­ter­ing a new phase,” said Anne Hi­dalgo, the Paris mayor, adding: “The virus is go­ing to be with us for some time. But life must go on, even if nat­u­rally not quite as be­fore.”

“These are brak­ing mea­sures be­cause the epi­demic is mov­ing too fast,” said Di­dier Lalle­ment, the Paris po­lice chief.

Paris had im­posed a 10pm cur­few on bars and cafés along with dis­tanc­ing rules but these have rarely been fol­lowed to the let­ter.

Restau­rants can con­tinue to op­er­ate if they meet stricter con­di­tions, said Mr Lalle­ment. These in­clude mak­ing sani­tis­ing hand gel avail­able at each ta­ble, lim­it­ing cus­tomers to six per ta­ble with at least a me­tre be­tween seats, and al­low­ing cus­tomers to re­move their masks only for eat­ing. Pa­trons will be asked to leave con­tact de­tails.

The mea­sures will ap­ply to Paris and the three de­part­ments sur­round­ing it.

Aurélien Rousseau, the di­rec­tor of the re­gional health agency, said the cap­i­tal had hit max­i­mum alert lev­els on three key in­di­ca­tors. The rate of virus preva­lence is now 260 per 100,000, its spread among high risk older peo­ple stands at 110 per 100,000 and the pro­por­tion of in­ten­sive care beds taken up by Covid-19 pa­tients has hit 36 per cent.

France re­ported nearly 17,000 cases on Satur­day, the high­est daily num­ber since it be­gan wide­spread test­ing.

In other re­stric­tions, shop­ping cen­tres will be al­lowed one cus­tomer per four square me­tres and swim­ming pools will be closed to adults. Trade fairs and con­gresses are banned. How­ever, out­door sports tour­na­ments can still wel­come up to 1,000 peo­ple, mean­ing the on­go­ing Paris Open tennis tour­na­ment at Roland Gar­ros can con­tinue.

Vis­its to re­tire­ment homes will be lim­ited to two peo­ple at a time who must book be­fore­hand and meet el­derly res­i­dents “prefer­ably in ded­i­cated ar­eas”.

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