Masks reimposed outside in Paris and other cities as France seeks to limit Covid spread

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Wearing masks on the streets of Paris and most of the Paris region will be mandatory starting Friday. Several other cities in France have re-imposed outdoor mask mandates over the past month as the country faces a “tsunami” of new Covid cases.

The French capital will extend obligatory mask wearing on city streets as part of a move to limit the rapid spread of the Covid-19 virus.

The city of Lyon will do the same as of Thursday, midnight, for a period of three weeks.

Mask-wearing is already mandatory inside public buildings and public transport across France.

France has registered a record number of cases, with 208,000 in 24 hours on Wednesday, breaking the previous day’s record of 180,000.

Health Minister Olivier Veran told lawmakers that the numbers are dizzying, no longer a wave, but a tsunami.

However, even as cases are soaring, numbers in intensive care units are not reaching the same records.

Masks across France

Even before Prime Minister Jean Castex on Monday called on prefects to reintroduce mask mandates in city centres, many had already done so, including in Rennes and other cities in Brittany.

In Marseille, masks have been mandatory in outdoor spaces where people gather.

Most of the prefects of the departments of the Paris region are making masks mandatory outside as of Friday as well.

The Paris rules apply to those 11 and older, except for those in vehicles, riding bicycles, or exercising. The two forested areas on either side of the city, the Bois de Boulogne and the Bois de Vincennes, are exempt.

People not wearing masks face a 135 euro fine.

Limiting New Year's celebrations

The city is also imposing restrictions on New Year’s Eve, with dancing prohibited in any public establishment, and bars and cafes serving alcohol closed at 2am on Sunday.

Nightclubs have been closed since 10 December, and will be required to stay closed for three more weeks in January.

Some 9,000 police officers and military personnel will be deployed in Paris to enforce the measures.

(with wires)

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