People in France enjoy dining in and gyms for first time in months

People enjoying meals in a restaurant in Paris yesterday. Tables of up to six are now permitted at cafes and restaurants. The curfew has also been pushed to 11pm, from 9pm earlier.
People enjoying meals in a restaurant in Paris yesterday. Tables of up to six are now permitted at cafes and restaurants. The curfew has also been pushed to 11pm, from 9pm earlier.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

PARIS • People in France enjoyed indoor dining and gyms for the first time in months yesterday, as the country relaxed coronavirus rules that will also see a curfew pushed to 11pm as Covid-19 cases ease and vaccination rates pick up.

Rules for travellers from within the European Union were also eased, while cultural venues relaxed their measures in line with France's phased reopening for the summer months.

The overnight curfew will now start later - at 11pm instead of 9pm - before being dropped entirely on June 30 if all goes to plan.

The new measures also mean that spectators will be able to enjoy night sessions for the final stages of the French Open tennis in Paris, after previously being slung out at 9pm.

Tables of up to six will be permitted at cafes and restaurants, while gyms can also reopen for clients indoors.

Travel to France also became easier from yesterday, with borders fully open to European Union (EU) residents.

Visitors from the EU will not have to provide a negative antigen rapid test or polymerase chain reaction test result if they have had a full course of one of the four vaccines authorised by the bloc - Pfizer-BioNTech, Oxford-AstraZeneca, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson.

Travel from other zones, including the United States and Britain, are subject to tighter restrictions but visitors will no longer have to prove a compelling reason for a visit, so long as they are fully vaccinated.

Despite the closures of the past year, France endured less severe lockdowns over the last half year than its neighbours - notably avoiding major school closures - in what was seen as a major gamble by French President Emmanuel Macron.

One sector still lacking clarity is night clubs, which remain closed until further notice, with the government set to look at the situation again on June 21.

And in virtually all of France, masks remain obligatory even outdoors until further notice.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 10, 2021, with the headline 'People in France enjoy dining in and gyms for first time in months'. Subscribe