The French towns making masks mandatory outside again as Delta spreads

The rule has been brought back - or kept - due to the spread of the new Covid-19 variant, ahead of an address by President Macron on possible new anti-Covid measures tomorrow 

11 July 2021
Person holding medical protective mask outdoors. The French towns making masks mandatory outside again

The rules for mask-wearing outdoor vary considerably between towns and cities Pic: Nupook538 / Shutterstock

By Hannah Thompson

Several towns in France – including Nice and Bordeaux – are requiring masks to be worn outside again in some areas, due to the spread of the Delta variant, even as most towns now no longer require them to be worn.

The Delta variant now accounts for more than 50% of new Covid-19 cases in France, and the government’s spokesman this week said that the ‘risk of a new wave is very real’.

Read more: France calls for mass Covid vaccination: ‘Risk of a new wave is real’
Read more: Covid France: What extra measures could help stop Delta fourth wave?

As a result, a number of towns have taken out decrees requiring people to once again wear masks when outside in public places, reported Le Parisien. Most are in areas popular with tourists, where visitors are expected to gather in July and August.

They include Le Touquet, in Pas-de-Calais; some neighbourhoods of Nice; and in pedestrian areas of Lille.

Masks were made mandatory in outdoor spaces across France at the peak of the pandemic, but this rule was eased across most of the country at the start of this month (July).

But rules still vary considerably between towns.

For example, since July 8, masks have been required outdoors in Mont-de-Marsan (Landes) at the weekend. In Biscarrosse (also Landes), they are required during the week.

In Bordeaux (Gironde), wearing a mask outside is still required between 12:00 and 19:00 in certain streets. In Toulouse (Haute-Garonne), it is required in the very centre, from 10:00 to midnight every Saturday.

In Hérault, masks are still required in the towns of Montpellier and Béziers, as well as the more tourist destinations of Cap d’Agde, Palavas-les-Flots and La Grande-Motte.

In Saint-Malo (lle-et-Vilaine), a decree has extended the requirement to wear a mask when inside the city walls, from 11:00 to 21:00.

Some towns did not lift the requirement to wear masks outdoors, including Dax, Hossegor, Moliets-et-Maa and Léon (Landes).

Other towns and villages may soon follow suit.

President Emmanuel Macron is expected to address the nation on Monday, July 12, at 20:00 on television to give an update on the current health situation. 

He may announce new measures to fight against the Delta variant.

Related stories

President Macron to address nation Monday July 12 on Covid situation
Delta variant cases rise, fourth wave ‘possible’ in July
Coronavirus: Daily updates on the situation in France
Head of rural French mayors calls for mandatory Covid vaccines for all

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