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Mandatory masks: France sets €135 fine for non-compliance

People who do not wear a mask in enclosed and indoor public spaces in France from today (Monday July 20) now risk a fine of €135. We review the new rules and possible sanctions for non-compliance.

In a statement, health authority la Direction Générale de la Santé said: “Non-respect of this measure risks - as is the case for other places in which wearing a mask is obligatory, especially public transport - a 4th class contravention [which is punished by a fine of €135].”

It has not specified any further fines for the moment.

Rule already in place in Mayenne

In the department of Mayenne (Pays de la Loire), which was last week declared on high “vulnerability” alert due to a spike in Covid-19 cases, wearing a mask in enclosed public spaces has been mandatory since Friday (July 17), punishable by the same fine for non-compliance (€135).

Read more: French department on ‘high alert’ after spike in Covid cases

In addition, in Mayenne specifically, anyone found in contravention of the measure twice in 15 days risks a further class 5 fine of up to €1,500. In case of a third violation within 30 days, this rises to a fine of up to €3,750 and up to six months in prison.

It is not yet clear if these more severe sanctions will apply across the rest of the country from today.

Fines abroad

In comparison, fines for not wearing a mask when required are now €250 in Belgium, and will be £100 (around €110) in the UK from July 24.

Masks have been made mandatory from today (July 20) in enclosed public spaces in France after President Emmanuel Macron initially said that they would be so from August 1. Following loud calls from senior doctors and health professionals, Prime Minister Jean Castex brought the date forward.

Read more: Masks mandatory indoors in France today (not August 1)

Read more: Macron’s July 14 interview: masks, racism and 3D printing

Where are masks needed?

Everywhere that is defined as an enclosed or indoor space, or where physical distancing is not possible. This includes shops, supermarkets, and covered markets.

On Saturday (July 18), health minister Olivier Véran tweeted: “Wearing a mask will be obligatory in enclosed spaces, as announced by [Prime Minister] Jean Castex. This includes shops, establishments open to the public, covered markets, banks…”

Shopping association la Fédération du Commerce et de la Distribution (FCD) has also confirmed that the rule would especially apply in food shops and supermarkets, including Auchan, Aldi, Carrefour, Colruyt, Cora, Groupe Casino, Intermarché, Leclerc, Lidl, Netto, Supermarché Match and Système U.

Other enclosed spaces, such as meeting rooms, theatres, cinemas, restaurants, hotels, teaching centres, museums, and indoor sports halls are already subject to their own “specific rules”, Mr Véran said, and also require the wearing of masks.

Masks are also mandatory on public transport.

The ministry for health today tweeted a full list of places in which wearing masks are required.

Read more: When and where you have to wear a mask in France


Who has to wear one?

The masks are now mandatory for everyone over the age of 11, but are prohibited for children under three.

Children aged 3-11 only need to wear a mask if they have virus symptoms, for example, if they are waiting to be collected from school after falling ill. Once symptoms appear they should also self-isolate. 

Read more: Children and masks: what are the rules in France?

What kind is allowed?

Masks can be made of paper or fabric, and be shop-bought or handmade, as long as they conform to standards set by the Association Française de Normalisation (AFNOR).

Masks must be strong enough to properly cover the nose and mouth, and remain in place without needing to be adjusted.

Read more: Further advice and rules on how to wear and use a mask correctly

Related stories

France confirms where masks are mandatory
Coronavirus: Family reunions spark new clusters in France
Coronavirus circulation higher in France since deconfinement

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