France has officially ended its Coronavirus lockdown today. Schools and businesses are allowed to reopen after eight weeks of strict restrictions.
Green designates areas where the virus has mostly stopped spreading and where most restrictions are being lifted. In contrast, red are areas considered as high risk of contamination and which remain under stricter regulations.
French citizens will now be free to leave home, in a limit of one hundred kilometres, without carrying the “attestation”, a permit people had to fill whenever they went outside during lockdown.
This week many primary and nursery schools are expected to reopen, taking all the sanitary measures possible to welcome pupils safely. Going to class will not be compulsory and each county has been given to right to decide if they want to reopen their schools or not.
Businesses are also being encouraged to restart their activity, with a limited amount of working hours. Employees are also allowed to continue working from home, to avoid crowding on public transport and in offices.
At the moment restaurants and bars are still closed but some are offering takeaway services. They are all expected to reopen on June 2, if the situation is still favourable.
The government encourages all citizens to wear a mask when leaving home, but it will only be mandatory on public transport, a 135€ fine will be given to those who do not wear it. Citizens are also urged to behave responsibly and avoid going out unnecessarily.
While many people are happy to see lockdown ending and restrictions being lifted, others are feeling nervous and fear a second wave of coronavirus cases.
Alexia Bequin, 20, who runs a nail salon in Corsica, said: “I am very happy about the end of lockdown because I’m finally able to start working again. It is a bit complicated with the sanitary restrictions, the mask, for example, is really constraining to wear all day, but besides that, I’m not really scared.”
Arlette Fieschi, 70, said: “The positive side of the end of lockdown is that I am now able to see my family and my grandchildren. But despite this joy, I am stressed about the fact that we might never be able to live normally, without the fear of the virus anymore…”
Serena Onetti, 16, said: “I am happy that lockdown is finally over, but I’m still not able to see my friends a lot because we have to stay cautious and be careful, so my daily life is not really different than during quarantine…”
According to the website “Gouvernement Français”, France has had more than 143,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, which have caused the deaths of at least 28,000 people.