Cafes in the French capital Paris must close from Tuesday. The authorities want to use this measure to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Restaurants don’t have to close, but they will have to deal with stricter regulations.
The measure will remain in effect for approximately two weeks and will also apply in the suburbs of Paris. “The epidemic is growing too fast. We need to slow down now before our health system is overwhelmed,” police chief Didier Lallemant said at a news conference.
Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin had already anticipated the expected closure of the cafes. He acknowledged on Sunday that such a measure would be a blow to everyone involved.
“We are French. We love to drink, eat, live, laugh and kiss,” the minister told the media. “But we also do this because people want to.”
Indeed, many Parisians seem to be in favour of such a measure. In a poll published Sunday, 61 percent of people from the metropolitan area surveyed expressed support for a complete closure of cafes. They already had to do with adjusted opening hours.
The coronavirus is quickly spreading again in France. The authorities registered nearly 17,000 new infections on Saturday, the highest number so far.