PARIS (Reuters) - French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe presented on Tuesday plans to unwind, from May 11, a nationwide lockdown that has been in place since mid-March.
The following are the key points.
Philippe promised that enough masks will be available for all from May 11. His government is calling on all companies to provide workers with masks and will help small firms obtain them if needed. Masks will also be for sale on the post office’s website and five million will be made available each week to the most vulnerable people.
The government aims to carry out at least 700,000 virological tests per week by May 11. Once a person has tested positive, authorities are to identify and test all those, symptomatic or not, who have had close contact with the person. All these contact cases will be asked to isolate themselves, taking into account the uncertainties about the duration of incubation.
Those who test positive will be forced to confine themselves for 14 days, either at home or in a place made available to the person, in particular in requisitioned hotels.
Kindergartens and elementary schools will reopen nationwide from May 11 but on a voluntary basis. From May 18, the government will consider opening middle schools in districts where there are only weak outbreaks of the virus and will decide at the end of May if upper schools can be opened in early June.
Kindergarteners will not be allowed to wear masks to avoid misuse, and the government will make masks available for middle school students who are not able to get them themselves.
Class sizes will be kept to 15 students per class and distance learning will remain free for those students who stay home.
Working from home will be encouraged, and where that is not possible companies will be asked to stagger work hours by introducing shifts. Masks will be required where social distancing is not possible.
Shops will be allowed to re-open from May with the exception of those in shopping centres. Restaurants and cafes will have to remain closed.
Urban transport will be made as accessible as possible with 70% of the Paris network expected be running on May 11. The wearing of masks will be compulsory on all transport, metros and buses. The government wants inter-regional travel to be limited to professional or family reasons.
People will be able to move freely outside without certificates justifying their activities from May 11. Such certificates were required under lockdown to leave the house for food shopping and exercise.
Beaches will remain closed to the public at least until June 1. Libraries and small museums will be able to reopen from May 11 but large museums will not.
Places of worship may remain open, but the government is asking them to not organise services before June 2.
The 2019-2020 professional sports season, especially the football season, will not be able to resume.
The government will reassess at the end of May whether conditions are suitable for a further easing of restrictions and will decide whether cafes and restaurants can be reopened and if summer holidays can go ahead.
The government will seek the extension of a state of health emergency until July 23.
Reporting by Paris newsroom; compiled by Leigh Thomas and John Irish; Editing by Christian Lowe, Kirsten Donovan