The new decree was issued in Mayenne this Saturday August 1. It applies to everyone aged 11 and over, except for when practising sports.
Until now, only four communes in the department had made masks mandatory everywhere - including outside. Now, the rule applies to 69 communes - of 261. Gatherings of more than 10 people are also banned.
This includes notably Laval, Mayenne, Evron, Craon, Renazé, Pays de Château-Gontier, and Ernée.
The department has seen several new clusters of the virus in recent weeks. The prefect has spoken of “the epidemiological situation in the department” and “the active spread of the virus”.
In its most recent daily update (published on Friday July 31), local health authority l’Agence Régionale de Santé (ARS) of the Pays de la Loire had recorded 1,106 confirmed cases of Covid-19.
Luc Duquesnel, GP in Mayenne and president of GP union CSMF (Confédération des Syndicats Médicaux Français), last week said: "It is a race against the clock; we are not managing to contain the spread of the virus."
Belgium has also banned “non-essential” travel between Mayenne (and some other parts of France) and its own country, as it fights a new wave of cases, especially in the city of Antwerp.
Public service media FranceInfo has published a map showing which places are affected (below, see more here).
Elsewhere in France, Prime Minister Jean Castex is today (Monday August 3) visiting Lille as it also imposes mandatory mask-wearing in public areas in certain parts of the city, due to a rise in virus cases there.
The 95-commune, 1.2 million inhabitant greater Lille area has seen a “worrying” rise in cases, with the level of incidence almost doubling in a week, reaching 31 people for every 100,000 inhabitants. In the heart of the city, the level has even reached 40 people, rising ever closer to the “50” alert level.
The Nord department (Hauts-de-France) has also announced that certain public outdoor spaces there - especially those that are likely to see crowds of people - will require masks.
Wearing masks is also obligatory in certain outdoor areas in Nice (Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur) from today, with fines of €35 for people who do not comply.
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