Parisians walked the streets with their faces uncovered while workers flocked back to the capital’s business districts on Wednesday (February 2), as a series of COVID restrictions were lifted.
France eased work-from-home rules, no longer required masks outdoors and lifted caps on the number of people allowed into sports and entertainment venues.
“The lifting of mandatory remote working means going back to the office and getting to see the team again, for me,” said 24-year-old engineer Alexia Papoz. “It also is about having human warmth again because I am an engineer and I already spend my days working on the computer, so having to do that at home all day is difficult.”
The government had tightened COVID restrictions in late December, reintroducing mask mandates and caps on the number of people in cultural venues, as the health situation worsened with the spread of the Omicron variant.
“I was very sad to only be able to see half of people’s faces. We got to realise how the lower half of the face matters as much as the upper half,” Parisian Clement Jeanin told Reuters on Wednesday.
The next phase of the lifting of restrictions is set to take place of Feb. 16 and includes allowing nightclubs to reopen and allowing people to eat popcorn – or other snacks – in cinemas.