New mask rules in central France, update on booster doses

Several municipalities in central France have reintroduced the wearing of masks in outdoor areas in order to combat the rise in Covid cases.

The new rules mean that masks must be worn in outdoor spaces, including outdoor markets, spaces where the health pass must be presented to enter, and at public gatherings such as protests, this week until December 31.

The municipalities concerned are located in the department of Loir-et-Cher.

Masks must also be worn inside spaces where health passes are required to enter, such as restaurants.

The incidence rate (the number of cases per 100,000 inhabitants over the past seven days) has been rising in the department since the beginning of October and currently stands at 74.

That puts it above the alert threshold of 50 but below the national average, which hit 100.2 yesterday (November 15) – the first time it has topped 100 in two months.

Local authorities in Blois, the department’s capital, said the prefecture’s decision was good news. Mayor Marc Gricourt told BFMTV: “Prevention is better than cure. [Covid cases]so to avoid a high number of virus cases, we need to take as many precautionary measures as possible. »

Some audience members were less convinced. One said: “I don’t think it will be very useful outside of Blois, personally. Maybe it would be in a city like Tours or Lyon where there are a lot of people.

Camille Prette, co-manager of a bar in the town, told BFMTV: “Our customers tend to remove their masks indoors once we have checked their health records.”

She said it was difficult to make them understand why they now have to continue wearing face coverings indoors.

“This can create tensions and misunderstandings. We have a rule that is not necessarily what we would do, but we adapt to it,” she said.

“No plans” for containment this winter

It comes as government spokesman Gabriel Attal said the government was on “high alert” due to rising Covid cases.

Speaking to France Inter this morning (November 16), Mr Attal said the government was open to all measures to stop the spread of the virus “in principle”, but that “there are absolutely no plans to restore containment, neither in the short nor in the short term”. long term” in France.

Instead, he said vaccination efforts, including booster doses – which have so far been given to around 4.5 million people, according to Mr Attal – must continue.

He said another 810,000 people had booked booster doses on the Doctolib site following President Emmanuel Macron’s November 9 speech, in which Mr Macron explained that eligible people must have booster doses so that their pass remains valid after December 15.

Currently, people aged 65 and over or with conditions that make them vulnerable to the virus are eligible for booster doses in France.

In December, people aged 50 and over will become eligible.

Mr Attal said it would be “logical” for the same rules to apply to this age group, meaning they would have to get the booster dose in order to have a valid pass.

Mr Attal said he hoped the immunity granted by vaccines would mean future lockdowns would not be needed.

He said: “We’ve built a wall with vaccines and we have to make sure it doesn’t crack.”

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