France issues 4,095 fines for breach of confinement
More than 4,095 fines have been handed out to members of the public in France in just 24 hours for breaking the mandatory confinement rules, as the interior ministry strongly reminds people to comply.
On Wednesday March 18, interior minister Christophe Castaner said: “In 24 hours, there have been 70,000 conversations with the French public to explain to them why they were in breach of the rules, and since this morning, 4,095 fines have been handed out.”
More than 100,000 police and gendarmes have been mobilised to enforce the rules, which require people to stay at home except in a small number of “unavoidable” circumstances. Anyone leaving the house must fill in a form explaining their movements.
Yesterday, the fine for non-respect of the rules was raised from €38 to €135, rising to €375 when it is not paid in the next 45 days.
Clarifications on the official form
In the past 24 hours, more clarifications have been issued on the form needed to leave the house.
Only official forms downloaded for free from the government website here will be accepted. Any other websites claiming to offer the form in any other way are scams, the interior ministry has said.
The ministry has also stipulated that the form must be printed or handwritten, and that digital copies on phones or tablets will not be accepted for now.
Citizens are only allowed to leave their houses for one of the “unavoidable” reasons stated on the form, including necessary food shopping, travelling for work that cannot be done at home, taking solitary exercise, walking your dog (alone), important health reasons, or visiting dependents.
You must fill in one form per trip/reason per person, even if the different trips are done in the same outing (e.g. Visiting a dependent relative and then going shopping).
One form is needed per person per trip, including for children (Image: Interieur.gouv.fr / Screenshot)
Do children need to have their own form?
Yes. Infants and children are required to have their own individual forms too - again, one form per person per trip - even if they are accompanied by a parent or adult throughout the trip.
When outside, you must stay either alone, or only with people who you already live with; stay at least one metre away from other people; and practice good hygiene such as covering your mouth with your elbow if you cough, not touching your face, using hand sanitiser gel, and washing your hands.
Minister: People not respecting the rules are ‘imbeciles’
Mr Castaner added that people who were not respecting the rules were “imbeciles”, and warned of the consequences of their actions.
He said: “There are people who are underestimating the risk...there are people who think they are modern heroes when they break the rules, but they are imbeciles.
“They are risking themselves, their families and their loved ones, but also health workers who will be there - despite their idiot behaviour - to help them, to care for them, to save them.”
The interior minister also warned people who had stolen masks from hospitals to resell them at higher prices, saying: “Do not doubt that justice will take into account the vile, despicable organisation of such a business. Stealing from a health establishment, is everything that we reject.”
The theft of a mask is “simple theft, which can be punished by three years of prison and a €45,000 fine”, Mr Castaner said. He added: “This can even get worse. A night-time theft of a pharmacy with extra damage, is punished by five years of prison and €75,000 fine.”
The minister also said that businesses and individuals that were selling “false declaration forms” could be punished by up to one year in prison, and a fine of up to €15,000.
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