COVID-19: The terraces of cafes and restaurants reopen in France
Paris: It’s a big day for the French. Sidewalk cafes and restaurants reopen on Wednesday after a more than six-month shutdown that has robbed people of what feels like the essence of life – sipping coffee and wine with friends – to save lives during the coronavirus pandemic.
The French government is gradually lifting restrictions to prevent a resurgence of COVID-19 and give citizens back part of their “joie de vivre” signature. As part of the first stage of the plan, the night curfew in France at 7 p.m. will now begin at 9 p.m. Museums, theaters and cinemas are reopening as well as the outdoor spaces of catering establishments.
France is not the first European country to find some semblance of social and cultural life. Italy, Belgium, Hungary and other countries have already started allowing alfresco dining, while indoors eating and drinking began in UK pubs on Monday.
Restaurants in France have been closed since the end of October, the longest period of any European country except Poland, bars and restaurants reopened for outdoor service on Saturday after being closed for seven months.
Some French cafe and restaurant owners have spent days preparing for Wednesday’s milestone, even though rain is forecast for large parts of the country, including Paris, the city that epitomizes cafe culture and society. in France.
The government has also placed serious limits on how much fun one can have. Restaurants can only occupy 50% of their outdoor space and cannot seat more than six people at a table. Theaters must limit audiences to 35% of their capacity, while museums must restrict entry so that there is 8 square meters of space (86 square feet) per visitor.
The government plans to extend the curfew until 11 p.m. and allow indoor dining in restaurants and bistros from June 9. The final phase of the three-stage reopening plan is slated for June 30, when the curfew will end and all other restrictions will be lifted, pandemic conditions permitting.
France has recorded more than 108,000 deaths from COVID-19, among the highest tolls in Europe. But deaths, ICU admissions and the rate of coronavirus infection are on the decline.
“What matters is the dynamic,” Health Minister Olivier Veran said this week on BFMTV. Vaccinations “changed the data”.
About 40% of the French adult population had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Rain or shine, restrictions or not, many people should enjoy their newfound freedom on Wednesday.
At least that’s what Jérôme Haeffelin, owner of Ponthieu, a right bank bistro in a crowded district of Paris wants. He invested 20,000 euros ($ 24,000) to create an outdoor patio.
“We will strive to uphold (the rules), stack the odds in our favor and stay open for the long haul,” Haeffelin said.