The Daily Telegraph
Bars and cafes close as Paris hits ‘maximum Covid alert’
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”.