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Why Paris court has overturned rule on mandatory outdoor mask-wearing

Local authorities retain the right to ‘demarcate specific zones where masks are mandatory’

People in Paris wearing masks outdoors

A court in Paris has said that people do not have to wear masks everywhere outdoors except in specifically designated, crowded places Pic: Oliverouge 3 / Shutterstock

Paris has become the latest city in France in which people do not have to wear a facemask outdoors except in designated crowded zones, as the requirement is suspended in court.

The administrative court yesterday (January 13) suspended the prefectural decree that had previously made it mandatory to wear facemasks everywhere outdoors – even in open, non-crowded spaces – in a bid to fight the spread of the new Omicron Covid variant.

The official decision decree will be published today (Friday, January 14).

Lawyer Jean-Baptiste Soufron, who had called for the suspension of the decree, told the AFP: “As it was neither necessary nor proportional, the administrative court decided to suspend the decree.”

Local prefectures still retain the right to demarcate specific zones in which mask-wearing outdoors is mandatory, particularly in high-traffic, crowded areas, and those in which physical distancing is not possible.

It comes just one day after the administrative court in Versailles took the same decision for the department of Yvelines. 

Read more: French court says mandatory masks outdoors is 'attack on freedom' 

The court stated that the decree was a “disproportionate and excessive” attack on “individual freedom”.

The magistrate did concede that even though the risk of infection is “lower in the open air”, it is not “impossible when there is a strong concentration of people.”

As a result, it said that the prefecture has the right to “demarcate zones where masks are still mandatory”, such as in areas that tend to be crowded, or where physical distancing is not possible.

Related articles

Covid France: High court validates rules on mandatory masks outdoors

Recap: What are the rules for wearing a mask in France now? 

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