France drops face mask mandate outdoors

Public health measure has been eased from 2 February

Joanna Whitehead
Wednesday 02 February 2022 10:05 GMT
<p>France is easing restrictions </p>

France is easing restrictions

France is lifting the requirement for wearing face masks outdoors from 2 February.

In a televised address in January, Prime Minister Jean Castex announced that there had been a significant drop in the number of Covid patients in intensive care units and that the impact of the Omicron variant had been less serious than anticipated.

“This exceptional wave is not over, but the situation is starting to evolve more favourably,” he said.

Instead, vaccine passes will be enforced when accessing public spaces such as restaurants, sporting arenas, cafes, cinemas and long-distance public transport in an effort to contain the spread of the virus.

Negative PCR or antigen tests are no longer be accepted for entry.

France’s National Assembly approved the new anti-pandemic bill on 16 January.

It marks the beginning of a two-step lifting of restrictions throughout the country, including the scrapping of work-from-home mandates and rules on gathering sizes.

The second stage is due to be implemented from 16 February, when nightclubs are expected to reopen.

The news follows the decision to lift the ban on vaccinated Brits and their children entering France from 18 January.

The Interior Ministry in Paris said at the time the travel ban was lifted: “Faced with the predominance of the Omicron variant both in France and in the United Kingdom, the government has chosen to ease the specific health control measures at the borders which had been decided last December for vaccinated travellers from the United Kingdom.”

Travel to France for unjabbed visitors is still permitted only for “compelling reasons” – such as urgent family issues – and with mandatory quarantine on arrival.

Despite the changes, France continues to see high rates of Covid cases, with 337,948 infections being reported every day, equating to 92 per cent of the peak.

Castex described the current wave as being in a “clear ebb”, however.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), France has reported 17.6 million Covid cases and 127,249 Covid-related deaths to date.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in