Deconfinement in France: PM to outline second phase
The French Prime Minister is to address the country this Thursday (May 28) to detail the second phase of deconfinement, including whether bars and restaurants will reopen, and if travel beyond 100km will be allowed.
The second phase of deconfinement is set to begin on June 2.
A new map of France - with an official update on which departments are “green” and “red” - will also be published. This new map will have a direct impact on which rules will be implemented from June 2, including the reopening (or not) of collèges, lycées, bars, restaurants, beaches, sports halls and swimming pools.
Mr. Philippe said: “I will address the public at the end of May to assess the conditions under which we will organise a new phase of deconfinement, and in particular make decisions on the rules for cafés, restaurants, and holidays.”
We consider what could change from June 2.
New colour map
The new map - updated from the previous one published on May 7 - will show which departments will be considered “green” or “red” for the purposes of the next stage of deconfinement.
This is based on three criteria in the given department: how much the virus is spreading, how stretched the local intensive care services are, and how many tests are available for the general public.
On May 7, the departments of four regions were still in red: those in Île-de-France, Grand Est, Bourgogne Franche-Comté and Hauts-de-France. According to predictions made by news service FranceInfo, it is suggested that come June 2, only Île-de-France might still be in red.
Travel within 100km
The rule that limits travel to within 100km of your home (as the crow flies) may change on June 2. Junior transport minister Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne said in an interview this week that “a significant expansion” of this radius may be possible.
Cafés, bars, and restaurants
These may open from June 2 in green departments, as hinted by Mr. Philippe during his address on the government’s plan to kickstart tourism, in the Plan Relance Tourisme, on May 14.
If all goes as expected, it is likely that this will go ahead, with all establishments permitted to reopen from June 2 in green areas, with some restrictions such as continued hygiene precautions and social distancing as much as possible.
Parks and gardens
These have been open in green zones for several weeks already, but there are suggestions that some could reopen in red zones - especially in Paris - from June 2. Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo, and a number of associations, have called on the government to allow green spaces to reopen in the capital - under certain conditions - for the public’s “physical and mental health”.
These are set to reopen from June 2 nationwide. Until now it has been up to local department authorities to decide whether it is safe to reopen beaches. Similarly, until now, even on beaches that are open, sunbathing or staying seated on the sand have not been permitted (only swimming or walking / running have been allowed).
This may change come June 2.
Sports halls and swimming pools
These may reopen from June 2. Currently only individual outdoor sports are allowed.
Cultural centres and trips
Currently only small museums and media centres are allowed to open. But the government is set to announce whether large museums, cinemas, theatres, and concert halls will be allowed to reopen from June 2.
The prime minister has previously said (on April 28) that festival halls and multi-purpose activity halls will remain closed “until June 1”.
These are set to reopen in green zones from June 2, with some local variations. For example, the Puy du Fou park in the Vendée has said it will reopen from June 11.
Theme parks may need some extra days to put health measures in place before they can reopen - according to a report by newspaper La Dépêche du Midi, quoting the director of theme park group Walibi (Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes) and waterpark Aqualand in Agen (Lot-et-Garonne, Nouvelle-Aquitaine).
These are expected to reopen on June 2.
The interior minister has said that it is hoped that religious ceremonies will be able to restart from June 3. However, some sites have been permitted to start reopening since May 23.
Schools, collèges, lycées
Collèges and lycées remain closed in red zones. In green zones, only students in sixième and cinquième have returned to class, with some restrictions.
Most primary and elementary schools are now open everywhere.
From June 2, lycées may reopen, beginning with professional lycées. Students in the première year are, nevertheless, still expected to be preparing the spoken part of their Bac français (French final exams).
National education minister Jean-Michel Blanquer is set to announce if this exam will still be taken at the end of June.
Sign up to our free weekly e-newsletter
Subscribe to access all our online articles and receive our printed monthly newspaper The Connexion at your home. News analysis, features and practical help for English-speakers in France