Covid-19: France moves to night-time curfew from 15 December

  • Published
Related Topics
A woman walks past a closed restaurant in Paris on 18 NovemberImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
The infection rates are not falling as fast as the government had hoped

France will delay the reopening of cultural venues and introduce a night-time curfew as it struggles to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Prime Minister Jean Castex said the infection rates were not falling as fast as the government had hoped after a lockdown was imposed in late October.

A stay-at-home order will be lifted as planned on 15 December, when the daily 20:00-06:00 curfew will begin.

The measure will not be waived on New Year's Eve, to prevent big gatherings.

The government had conditioned the easing of restrictions on the number of new cases falling to around 5,000 a day. But that number remains well above 10,000 - on Thursday, there were 13,750 infections.

"We aren't yet at the end of this second wave, and we won't reach the objectives we had set for 15 December," Mr Castex told a news conference. "We can't let down our guard. We have to stay focused, and find our way through the next few weeks with lots of vigilance."

Museums, cinemas and theatres as well as sports venues, which were expected to reopen on Tuesday, will remain closed for an extra three weeks.

The decision was criticised by some in the cultural world, with actor and director Phillipe Lellouche telling BFM TV: "We're tired of not being given more consideration. Once more culture is being left on the side of the road."

Media caption,

Europe's streets empty

Mr Castex has also announced that:

  • People will again be allowed to travel across the country
  • The curfew will start an hour earlier than previously planned and will be waived for Christmas Eve
  • Families are allowed to celebrate Christmas but with no more than six adults together
  • The night-time curfew will not be lifted on 31 December as initially announced because the date has "all the ingredients for a rebound" of the virus

Bars and restaurants will remain closed at least until 20 January. Some non-essential shops had already reopened on 28 November.

France has confirmed more than 2.3 million cases and nearly 57,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic.