French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has just announced that the country’s restaurants, cafés, and bars – so essential to the French economy and its “art de vivre” – will be allowed to reopen on Tuesday, June 2.
In Paris, however, a few major caveats will remain in place while the capital remains in “phase 2” of reopening. Restaurants, cafés, and bars will only be allowed to serve clients outdoors, whether that’s selling items for takeaway or for consumption at outside tables. In other words, within Paris, you can’t dine or drink inside. Happily, there will soon be more options for eating outdoors.
The city’s more than 400 parks and gardens will also reopen on Tuesday, June 2. Gatherings will be limited to ten people, and mask-wearing and social distancing remain “highly recommended,” according to the Prime Minister.
“Freedom is becoming the rule once more,” said the Prime Minister. “Prohibition is becoming the exception.”
Paris is located in one of only three areas in France classed as “orange,” due to the continued presence of the virus. In other French regions, classed as “green,” the virus is “successfully slowed,” with adequate testing and hospital beds for active cases.
Restaurants and bars in other “green” regions will be allowed to open for indoor dining as of Tuesday. Tables will be limited to ten guests and must be spaced at least 1 meter apart from one another. Staff will be required to wear masks. Clients will also need to wear masks when moving about inside. Standing at indoor bars will not be allowed.
The current expectation is that Paris will be soon be recategorized as a green area and enter phase 3 of reopening, enabling restaurants to offer indoor dining with the caveats described above. An announcement to determine this is expected in time for “phase 3” to begin June 22.
While locals can now move about the country freely, thanks to the lifting of a rule forbidding travel of more than 100 kilometers from home, French borders remain closed to tourists. An announcement is expected on June 15 to detail when and for whom European borders will reopen.
The Prime Minister indicated in his address that special attention would be paid to the continued propagation of the virus in Paris and its surrounding suburbs. Stricter rules could be applied if the virus gets worse in the coming days and weeks.
Still, there is reason to be hopeful. “We are where we hoped to be on May 11,” the Prime Minister said. “In fact, we are a bit better off than we hoped we’d be.”