President Macron: 3-step end of lockdown starts Saturday
'Your efforts have paid off,' says president. From Saturday everyone can travel further and longer for exercise / leisure, more shops can open. December 15 is targeted for end of confinement, ready for Christmas
President Macron has announced a three-step end to confinement, with the lockdown set to end on December 15 if health targets are met.
Mr Macron said, "The peak of the second wave of the epidemic has passed... Our efforts, your efforts have paid off."
The president said that the number of daily positive cases has fallen sharply from over 60,000 before lockdown to averaging 20,000 per day last week. In the 24 hours between Sunday and Monday, there were 4,452 recorded cases. When lockdown was introduced, the government set the target at 5,000 cases per day for new measures to be brought in.
Key dates moving forward announced tonight
Saturday, November 28:
- People can leave their house for up to three hours within 20 kilometres of their house for exercise
- All shops and home services can open until 21:00 under strict sanitary protocol. This includes book shops, clothes shops, hairdressers, etc.
- Services in places of worship are allowed again, "within the strict limit of 30 people"
- Outdoor extracurricular school activities are allowed
- The system of exemption certificates (attestations de déplacement) remains in place
- Work from home (télétravail) measures are to remain unchanged
The president, talking about this first step, 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."
Tuesday, December 15 if the number of daily Covid-19 cases remains below 5,000 and the number of patients in intensive care units is between 2,500 and 3,000 people:
- Lockdown will end
- A curfew from 21:00 to 07:00 will be put in place across France but measures will not apply on December 24 and December 31. However, large family gatherings are discouraged
- Inter-regional travel permitted
- Cinemas, theatres and museums can reopen
À partir du 20 janvier, si la situation sanitaire le permet, les restaurants et salles de sport rouvriront. Le couvre-feu sera décalé à 22 heures. Pour les lycées, puis les universités, les cours pourront reprendre en présentiel. pic.twitter.com/sA1MIKytwf— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) November 24, 2020
Wednesday, January 20 (if the number of daily cases remains below 5,000):
- Restaurants, cafés, gyms, sports halls can reopen but bars and nightclubs must remain closed. No date has been set for when they can reopen.
- Full classes will resume in schools instead of the current restriction on numbers
- Two weeks later, universities can open and have in-person classes
The vaccine plan
The president promised a "rapid and large-scale vaccination campaign" but said that it will not be made compulsory.
The first vaccinations for vulnerable and elderly people are planned for the end of December or early January subject to validation by health authorities.
A scientific committee and a citizens' collective will be responsible for monitoring the vaccination roll-out. "Vaccinations must be carried out in a clear and transparent manner by sharing all information at every stage," Mr Macron said.
"Our strategy is based on several vaccines. Some of them will be available from the end of December-early January, and then there will be a second generation in the spring."
"We are, as you know, one of the countries that tests the most in Europe," Mr Macron said. "At the beginning of January, no test should take more than 24 hours between the test request and the result."
Mr Macron said it was "very hard to see how they could open for the holiday period". However, he said talks are to take place between the government, local officials and industry professionals and a decision will be made soon.
It is thought that one consideration is to avoid overloading hospitals in popular ski regions with accidents relating to skiing.
Business aid and other key points
President Macron said that everything must be done to avoid a third wave.
"If we don't want to suffer a third lockdown, we must redouble our vigilance. Let's protect our loved ones, especially the most vulnerable, by wearing masks, including at home when we are with friends or relatives who do not live with us on a daily basis."
He also gave thanks to France's health workers and called for a "follow-up" of Covid-19 patients, as well as a "strategy" to "take into account the psychological consequences" of the epidemic and confinement, particularly on the elderly and disabled."
Businesses that will remain compulsorily closed in the coming weeks, such as restaurants, will be able to obtain aid equal to 20% of their annual turnover (during the period that they are closed), if this is greater than the €10,000 per month which is already available.
Prime Minister Jean Castex is to hold a press conference on Thursday morning to provide more details about the changes announced tonight.