Nov 29th, 2020, 09:09 PM

Macron Announces New Confinement Regulations

By Emilyn Snyder
French President Emmanuel Macron. Image Credit: France 24
French President Emmanuel Macron. Image Credit: France 24
President Emmanuel Macron introduced the easing of COVID-19 regulations, starting on Saturday, November 28.

On Tuesday, November 24, President Emmanuel Macron addressed France, informing the nation of the current spread of the coronavirus as well as how the regulations will continue in the future. Macron discussed his goal of allowing families to celebrate the holidays in a more relaxed manner than strict lockdown measures would have allowed for but still preached vigilance and safety through wearing masks and washing hands. 

Slowly letting up on the rules of confinement will happen in three stages. Of course, this plan will be subject to adjustments if the infection rate rises once again, but President Macron is confident that France can avoid a third wave of the coronavirus.

For AUP students, the biggest impact of the announcement will come from the potential rule change in February, when universities will be allowed to re-open. In an email sent out by AUP President Celeste Schenck on Friday, November 27, she explained the new regulations of France's confinement and expressed hope that the next semester would be different. "We are discussing how we will organize the start of the semester in the easiest, safest and most convenient way for students and families," she said. While some students may prefer to take classes from home, for those choosing to be in Paris, there is a chance that the campus will be open for part of spring 2021. 

For all of France, as of Saturday, November 28, shops will be back open until the sustained curfew time of 9 pm. As the holidays are an important time for many retailers, this allows individuals to start their Christmas shopping. Additionally, the one-kilometer déplacement limit has been lifted. Now residents in Paris are free to move up to 20 kilometers from their homes, with a new extended time of three hours to be outside rather than just one. Attestations will still be required, but this first stage of the new confinement already reflects how much better France is doing in terms of virus cases.

President Macron continually stated that the French government had succeeded in slowing the spread of the virus. The infection rate has indeed dropped to less than a third of what it was at the beginning of the month. However, COVID-19 related deaths are still being reported, passing 50,000 just before Macron's speech, and France still has the second-highest infection rate in all of Europe. 

Image Credit: Unsplash/Étienne Godiard

That said, if the infection rate does continue to fall, the confinement might be up as soon as December 15. No large gatherings of people are yet to be allowed, but cinemas, theaters and museums will be permitted to re-open. Bars, restaurants and gyms are to remain closed into the new year and the curfew will be kept in place to ensure after-dark activities are kept to a minimum. President Macron says they will allow for no curfew on Christmas and New Year's Eve as well as a decrease in travel restrictions, to ensure families are spending time together during the holidays. 

The curfew, beyond those two special occasions, will remain in place until January 20. Of course, this is providing that the numbers have not risen during the preceding stages of déconfinement

While Macron's three stages have much of the nation eager to get out of lockdown, it remains to be seen whether the pandemic's presence will continue to diminish and therein allow the softening regulations to be carried out as planned.