France Covid-19: How effective is the 18:00 curfew?

A 18:00 to 06:00 curfew is currently in place in 25 departments around the country but it could be extended to the whole country 

14 January 2021
A 18:00 to 06:00 curfew could be introduced to the whole of France
By Connexion journalist

Prime Minister Jean Castex is expected to announce an enlargement of the 18:00 to 06:00 curfew, currently in place in 25 departments, to the entire country tonight (January 14).

Covid France: Extended curfew expected but schools stay open

In the rest of France, the curfew currently begins at 20:00

But Guillaume Rozier, who runs the CovidTracker.fr website that provides data on Covid-19, has said it is too early to know how effective a longer curfew has been in the areas it is already in place.

“For the time being, we do not see any flagrant effect of the curfew put in place on January 2,” he told FranceInfo.

“The number of cases is increasing a little less quickly but it is a phenomenon that has been observable since January 1 or 2, so it is very hard to conclude that it is an effect of the tightened curfew.

“In October, we only saw a real effect a good ten days after the curfew was introduced. It takes about 13 days for all the data to come back,” he said. 

Government spokesman Gabriel Attal said that while it is too early to fully and absolutely measure the effects of the longer curfew, there are positive signs.

“In the departments where the curfew has been brought forward, the circulation of the virus is less significant than in other French departments. In other words, the virus is not spreading as quickly, and the growth dynamic of the virus is slower than in other territories,” he said. 

Stanislas Guerini, the executive officer of the ruling party La République en Marche!, said the government wants to extend the longer curfew to the entire country to counter the effects of after-work apéros. 

But the 18:00 curfew has some critics. 

The mayors of Cannes, Antibes and Grasse and the president of the Alpes-Maritimes department in the south of France said that it could have counterproductive effects.

“People are going to congregate in shopping centres during shorter periods of time,” they wrote in a statement published at the end of December 2020.

Some people living in the departments where the 18:00 curfew is in place have taken to social media to complain about the measure.

A Twitter user, whose handle is @anaoo31, wrote, “yet another inconsistency, on Saturday everyone is going to be in the same place. This curfew does nothing, it is just to make people believe that the government is taking actions in response to the crisis”. 

Another, whose handle is @Tom_Croisiere, wrote, “currently crammed into a supermarket with hundreds of people from Besançon before the 6pm curfew. Not sure how effective this measure will be.”

Prime Minister Jean Castex will hold a press conference tonight at 18:00 alongside certain other ministers to announce new measures relating to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Connexion team will be on hand to cover this announcement and will bring you updates as soon as possible.

Read more:

Covid-19 in France: Should schools close to stop the spread?

Covid France: Extended curfew expected but schools stay open

France Covid-19: Online vaccine reservations open this week

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