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Masks obligatory at indoor events in France

The wearing of face masks will be obligatory in all enclosed public spaces in France, including concert halls, from 1 August, as the mayor of the southern French city of Nice makes face coverings compulsory at indoor and outdoor events

Yesterday (16 July), newly appointed French prime minster Jean Castex announced that the wearing of masks will be obligatory in all enclosed public spaces, including concert halls, from the start of August.

The decision comes days after a group of doctors wrote in the newspaper Le Parisien, urging the government to increase the obligatory use of masks in the country. Masks were previously only compulsory on public transport and in some shops.

The ruling also comes after Christian Estrosi, mayor of Nice, mandated the compulsory wearing of face masks at all events in the city and called on the wider government to do the same, following the fallout from a perceived lack of distancing at a recent concert in the city.

“We are calling on the state to review the decree governing major events in order to impose the wearing of masks, even outdoors”

Photos from the concert, which saw French producer the Avener perform from the famous Castle Hill (la Colline du château) in Nice, sparked criticism as thousands were seen to gather together in the streets without respecting social distancing rules.

Although Estrosi confirmed that the government’s 5,000-person capacity limit had been maintained (in a space that usually caters for 36,000), he posted on Twitter that he “regretted” that distancing rules “had not been sufficiently respected”.

“We are calling on the state to review the decree governing major events in order to impose the wearing of masks, even outdoors,” wrote Estrosi, adding that mask wearing will be “obligatory from now on” at all events in the city.

Barely an hour later, French health minister Olivier Véran took to the platform to say that barrier measures, such as social distancing, “are not an option”.

“Do not hesitate to wear a mask in every situation, especially if you are not certain you can keep one metre away from others,” posted Véran, without making specific reference to the events in Nice. “It it through the good civic actions of individuals that we maintain the health of all.”

Outside of Nice, the wearing of masks will only be obligatory in indoor spaces. Events of over 5,000 people remain banned in the country.

Photo: Joao Pedro Correia/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) (cropped)


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