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Restaurants, festivals and crowds: What changes in France on Wednesday?

Wednesday, June 30th marks the fourth and final stage of France's plan to lift lockdown - so what changes?

Restaurants, festivals and crowds: What changes in France on Wednesday?
Photo: Ian Langsdon/AFP

On May 3rd France began a four-stage journey towards lifting lockdown and on Wednesday that journey reaches its final stage.

All stages have been contingent on the health situation but at present, despite concerns about the increase of the Delta variant, health trends in France are still going in the right direction with case numbers and hospitalisations continuing to fall.

READ ALSO Is France heading for a Delta variant surge like that in the UK?

What changes?

Some of the things that were originally scheduled for June 30th have already happened – the curfew was lifted 10 days early on June 20th and the requirement to wear masks outdoors was scrapped on June 17th, although there are still plenty of places where a mask is compulsory.

The main change on Wednesday is that decisions on a range of issues are passed back to local authorities, rather than being set by the government.

Although venues like bars, cafés, theatres and cinemas have already reopened there are limits on how many people they can accept while bars and cafés are limited to 6 per people table with a ban on bar service.

This could now change, but the final decision is down to the local authority, based on the health situation in their area.

So we could be heading back to a range of localised restrictions that mean you can have dinner or drinks with 7 friends in one area, but only 5 friends in another.

In fact on Wednesday, one local authority in south west France announced that it is delaying stage 4 until at least July 6th.

Concerts – concerts and live music events are currently only allowed if the audience is seated, but from June 30th that restriction is scrapped and standing audiences are allowed again. Events that have more than 1,000 people in the audience will require a health passport to enter, providing proof that you are either fully vaccinated, have recently recovered from Covid or have received a negative test in the past 72 hours.

Full details on how the health passport works HERE.

Festivals – the standing audience rule means that festivals can also go ahead – with a health passport – although several of France’s bigger summer festivals have already been cancelled.

Nightclubs – nightclubs stay closed for just a little longer, but reopen on July 9th. Entry will be with a health passport.

Large crowds – indoor events have previously been limited to 1,000 people, but this limit lifts on Wednesday, although entry to events of more than 1,000 people will be with a health passport.

Travel – not actually part of the French reopening plan, but on Thursday, July 1st, the EU health passport comes into effect to make travel around the Bloc easier – find out how it works HERE.

Member comments

  1. It is not the final stage! you still are forced to wear that silly mask in many places even when you are vaccinated, yet you can sit down in a restaurant without a mask, because apparently when you eat you can not get covid. A logic rule would be chewing gum or a mask, the choice is up to the individual, as is vaccination. Final stage……. It is final when I have my freedom back, don’t have to be vaccinated for certain bennefits, don’t have to walk around with a useless mask.

  2. So don’t go to places where you have to wear a mask if it’s that important to you. Bingo! Free at last! That was easy, wasn’t it?

    It’s a question of respect for others to wear them when required, but you’re the one that matters…

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Lengthy waiting times at Danish hospitals not going away yet: minister

Danish Minister for the Interior and Health Sophie Løhde has warned that, despite increasing activity at hospitals, it will be some time before current waiting lists are reduced.

Lengthy waiting times at Danish hospitals not going away yet: minister

The message comes as Løhde was set to meet with officials from regional health authorities on Wednesday to discuss the progress of an acute plan for the Danish health system, launched at the end of last year in an effort to reduce a backlog of waiting times which built up during the coronavirus crisis.

An agreement with regional health authorities on an “acute” spending plan to address the most serious challenges faced by the health services agreed in February, providing 2 billion kroner by the end of 2024.

READ ALSO: What exactly is wrong with the Danish health system?

The national organisation for the health authorities, Danske Regioner, said to newspaper Jyllands-Posten earlier this week that progress on clearing the waiting lists was ahead of schedule.

Some 245,300 operations were completed in the first quarter of this year, 10 percent more than in the same period in 2022 and over the agreed number.

Løhde said that the figures show measures from the acute plan are “beginning to work”.

“It’s positive but even though it suggests that the trend is going the right way, we’re far from our goal and it’s important to keep it up so that we get there,” she said.

“I certainly won’t be satisfied until waiting times are brought down,” she said.

“As long as we are in the process of doing postponed operations, we will unfortunately continue to see a further increase [in waiting times],” Løhde said.

“That’s why it’s crucial that we retain a high activity this year and in 2024,” she added.

Although the government set aside 2 billion kroner in total for the plan, the regional authorities expect the portion of that to be spent in 2023 to run out by the end of the summer. They have therefore asked for some of the 2024 spending to be brought forward.

Løhde is so far reluctant to meet that request according to Jyllands-Posten.