Jun 4th, 2020, 05:46 PM

France, Freedom, and Coronavirus

By Ricky J. Marc, J.D., M.S.
Image Credit: Creative Commons/zoetnet
With the French Government lifting restrictions due to Coronavirus (COVID-19), what is now allowed?

On the 11th day of May, 2020, the Republic of France woke up to a reality that it had long taken for granted—after a nearly two month-long period of nationwide confinement in which much of the population would be required to remain within their homes to stem the rapidly increasing Coronavirus (COVID-19) infection rate, her citizens and residents were again free to emerge from their homes and roam about their respective towns and cities.

Weeks later, as the month of June begins its march across the French calendar, many of us that have begun to embrace the fresh air again are wondering something very important—where do we go from here?

According to Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, the following measures will have been made effective as of Tuesday, 02 June 2020:

The 100-kilometer travel restriction will be lifted.

In an effort to stem the the spread of COVID-19, the French Government established a restriction on travel within the country; essentially, people could not travel beyond 100 kilometers of their home. During the confinement period, movement was restricted to one kilometer from home; now that the country is slowly reopening, travel restrictions have been relaxed as well.

Parks and museums, both within and beyond Paris, will officially reopen.

During the confinement period, it was no surprise to anyone that most restaurants (save those available on delivery applications like UBER EATS and Deliveroo) were closed to indoor dining; however, what some found troublesome at first would be the closure of parks. As of 02 June, parks will now be open to the public, and if Parc Monsouris is any indication, locals are certainly taking advantage. Masks must be worn in museums, however.

The terrace areas of restaurants, bars, and cafés will reopen.

Known as a staple of French culture, restaurant terraces will finally reopen throughout the country again. Indoor dining will still be forbidden in an effort to reduce the possibility of enclosed-space interaction between guests. Even so, terrace dining will be slightly different for the time being—tables are expected to adhere to social distancing measures requiring a minimum of one meter distance between tables.

The wearing of masks will be mandatory on all forms of public transit, such as the bus and métro.

This makes the most sense. As we’ve seen in recent months leading up to the General Strike and subsequent pandemic, public transportation has experienced a marked rise in congestion. In the midst of a contagious pandemic, with everyone standing so close to one another on public transportation, this requirement has ample justification.

Lastly, a variety of different COVID-19 testing centers will be made available to the general public.

The French Government has pledged that all COVID-19 testing will be reimbursed by the state, as an extension of its already-generous health care system. As of right now, certain testing centers are claiming otherwise, but this remains a developing story. In the meantime, the state has launched a brand-new mobile app called “StopCOVID,” designed to inform you whether or not someone has tested positive for COVID-19.

More on this as it develops.