Nice may become 10th city to impose curfew

The Covid-19 situation is deteriorating, local authorities have said, with a curfew from 21:00-06:00 becoming increasingly likely

19 October 2020
A view of the Place Massena in Nice. Nice in southern France may become 10th city to impose curfewThe city of Nice may join other French cities in imposing a curfew if the Covid-19 situation there does not improve
By Hannah Thompson

The city of Nice in southeast France may soon become the latest to impose a curfew on residents in a bid to curtail Covid-19, as the number of cases and hospitalisations continue to rise.

If imposed, Nice, in the Alpes-Maritimes, would become the tenth city in France to have a curfew. Currently a curfew from 21:00-06:00 is in place in nine cities including Paris, Lille, Montpellier and Toulouse.

At the weekend, authorities in Nice said: “The figures from the Agence Régionale de Santé (ARS) on the level of incidence, the level of [test] positivity and the number of Covid-related hospitalisations show an alarming progression in the epidemic and are approaching the maximum alert threshold that may cause us to impose the application of a curfew.”

The city of Nice and Alpes-Maritimes authorities have now asked law enforcement teams to operate “joint patrols” in establishments that are open to the public. 

The teams will remind the public of the need for barrier measures and will “not be lenient towards establishments that do not respect them”.

Checks and fines began on Saturday (October 17), and repeat offenders - such as restaurants and bars that do not enable or force social distancing - could even be closed. In two days, 35 sites were fined, with 75% reminded that they must keep data on customers as they enter the restaurant, in case of a later spread.

Around 20 people were fined for not wearing a mask. Three people refused to wear one and were arrested. 

What is the alert level in Nice?

The Alpes-Maritimes and Nice are already considered to be “on high alert”. In a report from the ARS, on October 14 the level of positivity - the number of positive cases per tests being done - had risen from 8.1% to 10.5%, across all ages.

The level of positivity is now 163 people per 100,000 inhabitants, up from 121 per 100,000 the week before.

The number of hospitalisations and intensive care admissions are also increasing in the area. Emergency services and home doctor service SOS Médecins have reported an uptick in activity.

There are clusters being investigated in workplaces, schools, and university campuses.

What are the rules in Nice currently?

Authorities in the Alpes-Maritimes and Nice are reminding people of the guidelines.

These are:

  • You must wear a mask in all indoor and outdoor public spaces
  • You must keep at least one metre away from others in all areas open to the public
  • Wash hands / use hand sanitiser regularly
  • Cough/sneeze into your elbow and/or use disposable tissues, then wash your hands
  • Avoid shaking hands or embracing people

Is there a risk elsewhere in the region?

Yes, notably in Vaucluse - also in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region - which is also seeing similar numbers, and a worsening situation.

More restrictions have already been introduced in the area, and the prefect said: “We may see a curfew imposed very quickly in Vaucluse.”

 

Where in France currently has a curfew?

The Ile-de-France region, Grenoble, Lille, Lyon, Aix-Marseille, Montpellier, Rouen, Saint-Etienne and Toulouse. The curfew is in place from 21:00 to 06:00.

What is the penalty for breaking curfew?

Those found breaking curfew without a good reason risk a fine of €135. This can rise to €3,750 and even a sentence of six months in prison for repeat offenders (three times and up).

Are there any exceptions? 

Yes.

  • Health reasons: To go to the hospital or to buy medicine in a pharmacy
  • Professional reasons: If you work at night or if your working hours do not allow you to be at home at 21:00
  • If you have to go to a relative in a situation of dependency
  • To take your pet out for a walk in the area near to your home

Certain establishments considered to be useful will remain open: Health, medical and social care establishments; care homes for the most vulnerable; hotels; restaurants that make home deliveries; and public establishments that provide evening and night services, such as police stations.

Prime Minister Jean Castex said that a certificate of exemption will become available on the government website. He also said there is a toll-free number to call to ask for advice: 0 800 130 00.

What about for existing events, such as the theatre?

Culture minister Roselyn Bachelot had previously suggested that people with existing cinema and theatre tickets should be able to honour them despite the curfew.

But Mr Castex this weekend ruled out any possibility of further exemptions to the curfew, including “cultural” exceptions, including these.

He said: “The rules must be the same for everyone. Everyone has to adapt, including the cultural world.”

Similarly, Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire has also said: “I think the strength of a rule is in its clarity and simplicity.”

What are the latest Covid-19 figures in France?

The latest update from health body Sante publique France (Sunday October 18) shows that there were 29,837 cases confirmed in the past 24 hours, with a positivity level of 13.2%.

There were 85 more deaths in the past 24 hours, and 7,530 more hospitalisations in the past seven days, of which 1,343 were intensive care admissions. There are 1,750 clusters being investigated, a rise of 62 in 24 hours, of which 355 are in elderly care homes.

There are currently 84 departments considered to be at “high vulnerability” level.

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