France deconfinement: What changes from Saturday
Shops that were deemed non-essential are set to open and everyone will be able to travel further and for longer for exercise
President Emmanuel Macron announced a three-step deconfinement plan on Tuesday (November 24) with the first phase beginning on Saturday.
All shops and home services will be permitted to open, places of worship will be able to hold services again and people will be allowed to spend more time outside exercising every day, within a greater distance from their home.
We break down the changes.
Shops to re-open
All shops that were classified as non-essential will be permitted to re-open, with strict sanitary protocols applied, until latest 21:00.
This will include libraries, bookshops, clothes shops, toy shops, flower shops etc. Also included will be hairdressers and beauticians.
Not included in this are cinemas, theatres, museums, cafés, restaurants, bars.
The sanitary protocols that the shops must follow has not yet been announced. Prime Minister Jean Castex will give further details on the deconfinement steps on Thursday morning.
It is thought that this will involve a limit on how many customers are allowed in a shop at one time, alongside the rules already in place such as supplying hydroalcoholic gel, social distancing measures and mandatory mask wearing.
France’s economy minister Bruno Le Maire has said that he is in favour of shops being allowed to open every Sunday in the lead up to Christmas. However no decision on this has yet been made.
Shops have also agreed to push back Black Friday by one week.
The Black Friday sales event takes place online and in shops every year the day after Thanksgiving in the US. This year’s Black Friday would normally have been held on Friday, November 27. It will now be held on December 4.
Exercise for longer and farther from home
People will now be allowed to exercise each day for up to three hours, within 20 kilometres of their home.
This rule replaces the current measure which allows people to exercise for one hour daily, within one kilometre of their home.
Inter-regional travel will still be prohibited.
The system of exemption certificates (attestations de déplacement) will remain, meaning that anyone going out to exercise or shop will need to complete one.
It is thought they will be updated before Saturday to reflect the new measures.
Religious services to resume
Services at places of worship can resume from Saturday, with a strict limit of a maximum of 30 people.
Outdoor, extracurricular school activities can be restarted from Saturday.
What will not change on Saturday
As mentioned above, the system of attestations will remain in place.
Cinemas, theatre and museums will remain closed until December 15, when they may reopen if certain targets relating to the number of daily Covid-19 cases are met.
Restaurants, cafés and gyms will remain closed until January 20. Bars and nightclubs are to remain closed and no date has yet been set for when they can re-open.
Work from home (télétravail) measures are to remain unchanged.
Mr Macron, talking about this first step in deconfinement, said, "it will be necessary to continue to stay at home, to work from home when possible, to not hold private meetings and family gatherings and to avoid all unnecessary travel."