Changes for schools but not health pass in lower Covid areas in France

The government has announced changes for concerts and nightclubs in these areas and the end of obligatory masks in primary schools 

22 September 2021
By Liv Rowland

The first ‘localised’ changes to French rules based on Covid incidence rates have been announced, but are mostly limited to mask-wearing in schools.

Following several hints in past days that health rules in France could soon be ‘lightened’ department by department depending on Covid rates, government spokesman Gabriel Attal said today said masks will not be needed in primary school in areas with an incidence rate of under 50 new cases per 100,000 per week.

The rate in a given department should have ‘stabilised’ for at least five days and the change will apply from October 4, Mr Attal said.

Technically, it means that the ‘health protocol’ in schools in the areas concerned will drop to level 1 (least concern).

There are four levels for schools, with progressively strict health requirements.  Level one includes no masks for pupils in the whole of primary school, whereas from level two mask-wearing is needed from the start of école élementaire (age six to 11).

Mr Attal however announced no localised changes to the health pass rules as yet, saying: “At this stage there has been no decision to adapt the health pass; it continues to apply in the same conditions.”

He had previously announced that the possibility of localised adaptation of the health rules, including the health pass, was expected to be discussed today.

Mr Attal also stated today that rules relating to how many people can attend certain spaces such as nightclubs and concerts would be made more flexible in the departments with low incidence rates.

As of the latest figures (September 18) 40 departments of Metropolitan France are now below the 50 rate.

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