New Covid-19 rules as Bouches-du-Rhône tops virus charts
Cases in the department have risen to 312 per 100,000, with a positivity rate of 10.6% since the beginning of September, officials reveal
Wearing masks will be mandatory in more places across the Bouches-du-Rhône department of southern France, as the department struggles with a surge in coronavirus.
Cases in the department have risen to 312 per 100,000, with a positivity rate of 10.6% since the beginning of September, the head of the region's agences régionales de santé, Philippe de Mester, warned, saying: "We are at the top of the national ranking of the departments whose situation is evolving the most unfavourably".
He said some surgical services will be cut to "free up additional resuscitation capacity" as the country heads into what the World Health Organisation has warned will be a difficult period for healthcare across Europe.
The prefecture has instituted the following specific measures to curb the spread of the virus:
- Wearing a mask is compulsory from 6h to 2h in 27 communes where the incidence rate is higher than 100 cases per 100,000. Large natural spaces, such as the Calanques are exempted;
- In those 27 communes where the incidence rate is higher than 100 cases per 100,000 people, gatherings of more than 1,000 people are prohibited;
- In these areas capacity will be limited to 1,000 seated people in establishments open to the public, such as concert halls and sports facilities. Visitors will have to leave every other seat free, and there must be a minimum of 1m between each person;
- Static gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited on beaches and in public gardens in these municipalities;
- In other municipal areas, wearing a mask is compulsory in and around busy public places such as markets, shops, schools, and waiting areas for public transport;
- Visits to residents in retirement homes are limited to one per day and no more than two visitors;
- The off-licence sale of alcohol and its consumption on the public highway is prohibited after 8pm. Inside establishments, standing consumption and shared drinks are not allowed;
- Primary and secondary school outings are suspended until at least October 1;
- Private gatherings of more than 10 people should be postponed if possible. If not, they must comply with the barrier measures;
- Working from home is recommended.