In a televised address Sunday night, French president Emmanuel Macron said he was “accelerating plans” to ease the country’s coronavirus lockdown.
“As soon as tomorrow, we will be able to turn the page on this first chapter across all our territory,” he said in an effort “to revive the euro zone’s second biggest economy more swiftly.”
All of mainland France, including the Paris region, will be classified as a “green zone,” meaning that cafés, restaurants and hotels in the City of Light can fully open from today.
Also from Monday, travel to other European countries will be allowed as France, along with Belgium, Croatia, Switzerland and Germany, reopens its borders to EU countries. (Italy reopened on June 3.)
Additionally, families will also be allowed to visit nursing homes and all French schools, except high schools, will fully reopen from June 22 to allow students to reconnect with teachers before the summer holiday.
However, mass gatherings will stay “tightly controlled” because “they are the main occasions for spreading the virus.”
With the French economy expected to shrink by 11% in 2020, Macron confirmed the government 's “unprecedented” €500 billion in financial aid to support “key sectors” including restaurants and tourism. “Our first priority will be to rebuild an economy that is strong, ecological, sovereign and united,” he said.
According to a recent Euronews poll, 63% of the country believe Macron has handled the coronavirus crisis poorly. Still, he claimed to be “happy about this first victory against the virus.”
With Beijing and Rome reporting new clusters of Covid-19, the president added, “this does not mean that the virus has gone and that we can completely drop our guard. The summer of 2020 will be a summer unlike any other and we will need to watch the evolution of the epidemic to be prepared in case it comes back with renewed strength.”
The overseas territories of Mayotte (Indian Ocean) and French Guiana (South America) are still classified as “orange zones.”