France will start relaxing its nightly curfew and allow cafés, bars and restaurants to offer outdoor service starting May 19, regional newspapers reported on Thursday, as President Emmanuel Macron charts a way out of the country’s third Covid-19 lockdown.
On May 19, non-essential business will be allowed to reopen and the nightly curfew will be pushed back to 9pm local time. The reopening of restaurant, bar and café terraces, which Health Minister Olivier Véran confirmed Monday, will be at half of their total capacity from May 19.
Restaurants and cafés will be able to welcome customers outdoors, with a maximum of six people per table. Museums, theatres, cinemas and sport facilities will also reopen, with a limit of 800 people indoors and 1,000 outdoors. Private gatherings of more than 10 people remain banned and working from home as much as possible is encouraged.
Foreign tourists will once more be able to enter the country starting on June 9 if they have a certificate of vaccination or a PCR test. The nightly curfew will be extended to 11pm.
Beginning on June 30, the nighttime curfew and most other restrictions would be lifted although Covid-19 prevention protocols would remain in place in public spaces. Nightclubs will remain closed.
Meanwhile, France is continuing to accelerate its COVID-19 vaccination program. There were more than 657,000 vaccinations on May 11, which set a new national daily record in France.
On May 12, the vaccination program was opened to all adults aged over 18, but only if there are extra doses that were not taken by the current eligible age groups (people over 50 in good health, 18-49-year-olds with underlying medical conditions, essential workers).
France has averaged 17,000 new Covid-19 infections per day over the past week, still far above the 5,000 threshold that the government had set to end the second lockdown in December.