France Enters Phase 2: “Freedom Will Become The Rule, Bans The Exception,” Says Prime Minister

Author image

Nancy Heslin   Forbes Monaco

Edouard Philippe French Prime Minister

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe

As the French labor ministry reported today a 22.6% surge in unemployment over the last month making 4.5 million people in the country now jobless, prime minister Edouard Philippe unveiled phase 2 of deconfinement, which includes the reopening of restaurants, cafés, bars, gyms, and high schools from June 2.

“We are where we’d hoped to be by the end of May and, in fact, we are doing better than we thought,” said Philippe, who confirmed that except for three departments "in the orange" ('Île-de-France, Guyana and Mayotte), the rest of France is classified as a green zone in terms of the virus circulating and hospital capacity (which has dropped from 7,000 patients at the height of the pandemic to 2,000).

StopCovid App
The prime minister stated the StopCovid mobile app, free to download from June 2, is “not a magic wand” but a tool designed to fight the pandemic by warning users if they have been in contact with people who have tested positive. The government has approved its deployment because users remain anonymous, geolocate is inactive and the state will never have access to the data.

Masks And Public Transport
Wearing masks is still recommended in public spaces but mandatory on public transport.

READ: Monaco Still Most Expensive Per Square Meter, Says Savills

No More Travel Limit Within France
Say au revoir to the 100 km travel restriction as from June 2 the ban will be lifted. But travelers planning on going over 100 km for the coming Pentecost long weekend still risk a fine. “This doesn’t mean people should lower their guard,” said Philippe. “The less we travel, the less the virus will spread.”

Bars, Café and Restaurants
Bars, cafes and restaurants across France can reopen on June 2 with a 10-person max per table. A one-meter distance between tables must be respected and the wearing of masks is mandatory for wait and kitchen staff. All customers must be seated and anyone walking around must wear a mask. In the three orange zones, including Île-de-France, only terraces will be allowed to open.

Gyms And Cultural Activities
Gyms, swimming pools and amusement parks (up to 5,000 people) will also be able to reopen from June 2 (June 22 for Île-de-France, Mayotte and Guyana). Sanitary measures will be announced. Theaters, and cultural event venues will implement physical distancing and the wearing of masks.

High Schools To Reopen
All schools, including junior and high schools, across the country can reopen from June 2. Education minister Jean-Michel Blanquer stated more than 80% of schools have already reopened and they are targeting 100%.

Museums, Monuments, Beaches and Lakes (Parks Reopen This Weekend)
These will all reopen from June 2, although mayors may request masks worn in some cases. Sunbathing on the beach will be permitted again. Parks will reopen across the country from this weekend with mayors deciding on any health measures to be imposed.

You’ll Have To Wait Until June 22 For…
Summer camps, as well as cinemas, discos are closed until June 22. Contact and collective sports are still prohibited (and the 2019-2020 Ligue 1 football championship is done) as is horseracing.

European Borders Closed Until June 15
Philippe stated that France would be “favorable” to reopening borders within European from June 15 but this has to be agreed upon by all EU states. For non-European countries, borders remain closed until further notice.

“We shutdown much of our economy in the lockdown with short-term unemployment,” the prime minister emphasized. “Now we are going to have fight the impact of the recession with determined resumption.”

READ: French Economy Set To Shrink 20% Q2, Air France Reduces Flights By 40%
READ: Lockdown Lowdown In France: What To Expect From May 11

Author image

Nancy Heslin   Forbes Monaco

Nancy Heslin is an established journalist and lifestyle writer. She has been the Editor-in-Chief of Forbes Monaco magazine (bimonthly in English) , since the magazine's 2nd issue . Launched in November 2018, Forbes Monaco is part of the Forbes family, with its 7 million readers and 71 million monthly website visitors worldwide.