The essentials On this Wednesday, April 21st, a health protection council took place at the Elysee. The end of travel restrictions was announced on May 3rd. Certain cultural venues are scheduled to reopen in mid-May.
A defense council was held this Wednesday morning, while the health situation is improving very slowly. At the subsequent press conference, government spokesman Gabriel Attal announced that the travel ban for more than 10 km from his home and the travel ban for any other region would be lifted from May 3rd. The reopening of terraces, non-food shops and cultural sites with reduced strengths is announced for mid-May.
On March 31, the head of state announced a curfew at 7 p.m. in all of France for four weeks from Saturday, April 3 – i.e. until May 2 – and the drive would be restricted to 10 km from home, unless mandatory The reason is the systematic recourse to telework. He also mentioned a reopening from mid-May for the terraces of cafes, restaurants and cultural venues, a goal that he then affirmed in front of mayors and that government officials confirmed. This schedule “will be adhered to” and “serves as the basis” for the development of the exit strategy from prison, in the words of Gabriel Attal.
No more travel restrictions from May 3rd
As of May 3, there will therefore no longer be an exit certificate or travel limit. Travel between regions is therefore permitted from this date. This choice reflects the conviction that the number of contaminations in the Elysee Palace, as in Matignon, will drop to around 20,000 per day within a month and that the target of 20 million vaccinated with at least one dose for mid-May has been achieved.
Also read: Vaccination: Should we now extend the campaign to all French people?
“We could be at the height” of the epidemic
For its part, the Élysée recalls that “the President has committed himself to a timetable for a gradual reopening in line with the development of the epidemic”. The epidemic is on the downside, with a decline in contamination. For five days “we started to reduce the epidemic”, with an average of 33,000 cases per day, estimated the Minister of Health Olivier Véran in an interview with Le Télégramme. During his press conference, Gabriel Attal announced that “the first effects” of the containment measures are “noticeable”. He adds that “we might be at or near the peak (epidemic; editor’s note)”.
Contrary to the sources suggested this morning near the Elysee Palace, the curfew reduction is not currently being considered: “The end or reduction of the curfew is not one of the measures the President has announced for that they will remain in force for four weeks. ” and ends on May 3rd. So it’s not on that schedule. “
Reopening of cultural sites to 35% of their usual level
The terraces of cafés, restaurants and cultural sites should be reopened in mid-May, as Gabriel Attal confirmed again when leaving the Defense Council. The metrics in places of culture and the size of businesses that can reopen are still debated. Consultations with experts will continue in the Ministries of Culture and the Economy.
The reopening process would begin with the restaurants’ terraces. According to the Canard Enchaîné, several cultural sites should also be affected by this reopening, including cinemas. The reception indicators from these locations may vary by area, with a minimum threshold of 35% that would vary based on the spread of the virus.
The calendar of the next opening phases (sports halls, nightclubs, festivals, etc.) has also yet to be set as an exact date has not been announced. Gabriel Attal also said the government has not yet decided whether these reopenings should begin for the Ascension weekend (May 13-16) or after it ends.
On the way to a territorialized deconfination
The reopening of shops and cultural sites could be gradual, depending on the territory and health situation: this was mentioned by Olivier Véran in the interview he gave the Telegram on Tuesday April 21st. According to information gathered by BFM TV from sources close to the executive branch, deconfining should be initiated by national measures, followed by local adjustments, depending on the departments. These adjustments would have to be defined by the prefects according to different health criteria.
Also read: Covid-19: Olivier Véran is in favor of territorial deconfination
Self-tests in schools?
The executive is also considering running school self-tests, which the Higher Health Agency should approve this week. This issue, as well as the health protocol to be applied at the beginning of the school year, raises questions for complex organizations. Should an adult systematically be used to monitor tests that are not so easy to perform? And should all children be tested and from what age?
People to promote vaccination
The government is also considering, as Emmanuel Macron mentioned Tuesday night during the weekly meeting at the Elysee Palace about vaccinations, a communication campaign to reassure the French about the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is reluctant. In response to this question, Gabriel Attal said: “Of course, in addition to transparency, there is also the question of the example. The Prime Minister was vaccinated in front of the cameras. I confirm that the President and the Prime Minister wish to multiply these examples: popular personalities, known to the French, officials who might make their vaccination known “
Also read: The dissatisfaction with the AstraZeneca vaccine can be felt in Lot-et-Garonne
Vaccinations: France at the forefront of the EU
With 2.5 million doses injected, France “is ahead of the major European Union countries in terms of the number of adults who have received a first dose of vaccine,” says Gabriel Attal. The government spokesman also addressed the expansion of the vaccination campaign to around twenty second-tier professions from Saturday. He welcomed the success of the vaccination campaign and invited all French to be vaccinated.
Also read: cashiers, garbage collectors, truck drivers … These priority professions for the vaccine against Covid-19 from Saturday
Indian variant: India was placed on the red list
Given concerns about the Indian variant, Gabriel Attal announced that India has been added to the list of countries with entry restrictions on French territory, which already include Brazil and South Africa. Travelers from India must now adhere to a quarantine of ten days upon arrival in France.
Also read: Covid-19: What we know about the Indian variant is cause for concern after New Delhi redesign
A press conference is expected on Thursday
As he indicated in late March, Emmanuel Macron himself will speak again to reveal the modalities of the reopening, likely by the first week of May, according to a source close to the executive. According to BFM TV, a press conference is expected to take place on Thursday in the presence of Prime Minister Jean Castex, Minister of Health Olivier Véran and Minister of Education Jean-Michel Blanquer. This press conference should look in depth at the start of the school year and the health protocol that is being implemented in schools.