Paris orders mandatory wearing of masks outdoors in busy areas as coronavirus flares up

People wearing protective masks walk near the Louvre Museum in Paris, Aug 6, 2020.
People wearing protective masks walk near the Louvre Museum in Paris, Aug 6, 2020.PHOTO: REUTERS

PARIS (REUTERS) - Parisians and holidaymakers strolling along the banks of the River Seine or browsing open-air markets in Paris must wear a face mask from Monday (Aug 10) after authorities imposed new measures to curb a rise in coronavirus infections.

The order, which applies to people aged 11 and over, covers busy outdoor areas in the French capital, although tourist sites such as the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe and Champs-Elysees boulevard were not listed.

Data showed the virus had begun circulating more widely in Paris and its lower-income suburbs since mid-July.

The rate of positive tests in the greater Paris region now stood at 2.4 per cent compared with a national average of 1.6 per cent, it said.

After tough lockdown measures slowed infection rates, many European countries are now watching new clusters flare up after easing restrictions to try to limit the economic damage and alleviate public frustration.

France has made it compulsory to wear a face mask in closed public spaces such as shops and banks since July 21, and Paris joins a growing list of cities ordering people to wear masks in busy zones outdoors, including Toulouse, Lille and Biarritz.

Those breaching the order face a fine of €135 (S$220).

The penalty rises to six months in prison for anyone violating it more than three times in the space of a month.

The Paris order will last a month.

The number of people in France infected with coronavirus rose by 2,288 on Friday, a new post-lockdown high.