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Covid France: Masks mandatory in 45 tourist areas in Charente-Maritime

The rule is back due to a worrying and rapid evolution of the epidemic in the area, say local authorities. Cases are particularly high among younger people

A woman outside putting on a mask. Covid France: Masks mandatory in 45 tourist areas in Charente-Maritime

The rule applies to everyone over the age of 11 in all outdoor areas except the beach, forest, and public parks and gardens Pic: Alliance Images / Shutterstock

Masks must be worn outside in 45 tourist areas in Charente-Maritime (Nouvelle-Aquitaine), it has been confirmed, as the Delta variant of Covid-19 continues to push up daily cases of the virus.

This includes the Ile de Ré and La Rochelle, the prefecture said in a press release, due to a “worrying and rapid evolution” and “brutal worsening” of the epidemic in the area.Prefect Nicolas Basselier also extended the rule from the île d’Oléron to Royan, and Châtelaillon-Plage.

The rule applies to everyone over the age of 11 in all outdoor areas except the beach, forest, and public parks and gardens.

The statement said: “This situation has already had an impact on economic activity, with establishment closures rising, due to positive cases or contact cases among staff.”

So far, around 20 bars and restaurants in the department have been forced to close, the prefecture told the Agence France-Presse.

Today, Charente-Maritime reported it has hit an incidence rate of 145.4 (the number of cases per 100,000 inhabitants). This compares to a national rate of 63, and 79.7 for the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region as a whole.

Cases are particularly high among young people. The incident rate for people aged 20-29 has shot up to 545 per 100,000; and 395 for those aged 10-19.


Masks and the health pass

The rules in Charente-Maritime come as nationwide, new regulations state that from tomorrow (July 21) masks do not have to be worn in public places for which the health pass is required.

Health Minister Olivier Véran has confirmed a decree to this effect, which was published in le Journal Officiel today (July 20).

Read more: Covid France: Masks not required in places where health pass is in use

From tomorrow, the health pass must be shown for entrance to any cultural or leisure area with more than 50 people, such as cinemas, theatres, indoor sports facilities and places of worship. Wearing a mask will no longer be required in these spaces as a result, according to the new rule.

This measure is set to be extended to restaurants, cafes, bars, long-distance transport services, and similar, from the beginning of August, dependent on parliamentary backing.

Local regulations override this rule, however. For example, in Charente-Maritime, masks must still be worn where specified.

The rule also does not apply to staff members who work in the establishments concerned.

Mr Véran said: "Mask-wearing remains the rule in companies. As the pass is compulsory from August 30 for employees [in places subject to the pass], there are no plans at present to abolish it for these employees.”

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