France's promised date of freedom has been a glorious light at the end of a very long tunnel. From Monday, 11 May, there will be a relaxation of the lockdown ("déconfinement") rules in France. Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced the plan yesterday, 28 April, before the National Assembly. But he also warned that the de-confinement date was not set in stone. Here we go over the what is planned to re-open and what will still be prohibited.
Deconfinement on 11 May
The date is not guaranteed. If the health situation shows a spike in the number of critical cases, the date could be postponed or the relaxation rules could be less extensive. The prime minister appealed to the 'discipline of the citizens,' which must continue. "If the numbers look bad on May 7, we'll take action."
Wearing a protective mask is "advantageous on many occasions," he said. The wearing of a mask on public transport will be compulsory for three weeks from 11 May. Staff in schools will also have to wear masks and companies will need to provide their employees with masks. For information on mask distribution throughout the Côte d'Azur, read our article here.
There will be "green" and "red" regions according to hospital stats with correspondingly stronger and looser restrictions. Which department will get which colour will be determined on 7 May on the basis of infection figures, the capacity of intensive care units in hospitals and testing facilities.
On 11 May, classes in the elementary and primary schools will gradually resume, however, attending classes is voluntary and remains at the discretion of the family.
From 18 May, the collèges with the 5th and 6th-year classes could reopen - but only in departments with a low virus prevalence. What will happen to the lycées will not be decided until the end of May.
In principle, the size of the classes should not exceed 15 pupils anywhere (crèches: ten children max).
All food markets, whether open-air or indoor, will be allowed to reopen from 11 May, provided they are able to comply with the safety rules in force.
Shops will also be allowed to reopen on 11 May, subject to safety regulations (including the wearing of masks for both staff and customers if the safety distance cannot be maintained). However, the prefecture may keep large shopping centres (more than 40,000 square metres) closed.
Cafés & Restaurants
Cafés, bars and restaurants must remain closed at least until 3 June. A decision on reopening is expected at the end of May. David Lisnard has been very vocal about the need for a concerted plan to aid restaurants and hotels; you can read his open letter calling for a 'Marshall Plan' here.
Beach restaurants & outdoor spaces
The beach restaurants will remain closed until at least June 1st. The same applies to parks and gardens, except for the "green" departments.
Museums & Libraries
Small museums, libraries and mediathéques may reopen on 11 May, but not large museums, cinemas, theatres, or concert halls.
No more attestation
From 11 May, people will be allowed to leave home without an attestation. However, the attestation will still be necessary if you are travelling more than 100 kilometres away from home, which will only be permitted for compelling (family or professional) reasons.
There will be no major events with more than 5,000 participants this summer. That means no music festivals, sports events or large trade festivals will be able to take place before 1 September.
The health emergency declared in France on 19 March is to be extended beyond 23 May, possibly until 23 July.