France will reopen various cultural venues including cinemas, as well as restaurants and cafes, in stages beginning from May 19, President Emmanuel Macron confirmed Thursday.
The country is in its third national lockdown, which was put in place to curve a steep third wave of infections. Cases have been falling in the last week, declining from a recent high of 43,000 per day to around 30,000. Like other European nations, the government is banking that the decline will continue, particularly as vaccine rollouts gain momentum. However, only 9% of the country has been vaccinated to date, as per Agencie France Presse.
Cinemas, museums and theaters will open on May 19, along with non-essential shops and outdoor seating at restaurants. The latter will have to wait until June 9 to serve customers indoors.
Primary schools reopened this week and secondary schools are set to follow next week, when travel restrictions inside the country will also be lifted. A unpopular curfew will also begin to be progressively eased, initially from 7pm to 9pm on May 19, to 11pm on June 9, and then fully lifted on June 30.
The news is a boost for Cannes Film Festival, which is scheduled to run a physical edition of both festival and industry events on July 6-17. Today’s announcement from Macron did not provide further news about plans for international travel, but the country is currently trialling a ‘vaccine passport’ system that will allow people to enter the country either with proof of being fully vaccinated, proof of a recent negative test, or proof of antibodies from a recent infection.
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