President Macron announced last night (November 24) that restaurants and cafes would reopen in France on January 20, 2021, if health circumstances allow.
This would mark part of the third and final stage of a gradual reopening from confinement detailed by the President last night. Along with restaurants and cafes, gyms and sports halls will also be allowed to reopen on January 20, provided the number of daily Covid cases remains below 5,000.
À partir du 20 janvier, si la situation sanitaire le permet, les restaurants et salles de sport rouvriront. Pour les lycées, puis les universités, les cours pourront reprendre en présentiel. pic.twitter.com/4it8M05J8b— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) November 24, 2020
No reopening date set for bars
Meanwhile, the President did not mention a date for the reopening of bars or nightclubs in France, which have been closed since October 30.
CEO of hospital system l'Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris (AP-HP), Martin Hirsch, told news source FranceInfo that this may be because physical distancing is more difficult in bars than restaurants, especially “by the fourth drink. If you can socially distance at this point, I’ll give you a euro”, he said.
Why can’t restaurants open sooner?
The January date means continued closure for restaurants and cafes for two more months. In the meantime, it has been announced that other venues such as shops and cinemas will reopen.
A recent study in the journal Nature, published November 10, revealed the results of a study conducted in the US that showed restaurants, bars and sports centres to be the places were the vast majority of Covid-19 virus transmissions occurred.
The study analysed mobile phone data from 98million people and found that 80% of positive cases were linked to 10% of locations.
App may be a solution
President of advisory board le Conseil Scientifique Professor Jean-François Delfraissy has raised concerns about safety measures in bars and restaurants, but also discussed solutions in an interview published by news source Le Monde on November 20.
He said: “The Conseil Scientifique recommends increased use of the application TousAntiCovid. We could imagine that certain places could become accessible to people on the condition that they activate the app. The reopening, for example, of places like restaurants at the beginning of 2021, could be accompanied by this digital tool.”
Hospitality hopes numbers will allow reopening
Restaurants and bars remain closed for now. Didier Chenet, president of national hospitality organisation GNI, told news source FranceInfo: “We are waiting. The most important thing is that the President, this time, has set a limit. We have a date.
"[But] we are making an enormous sacrifice waiting until January 20, and I ask all people in France to be responsible [during the end of year festivities] to make sure that we can reopen.”