Face masks now required outdoors at crowded Paris locations

Face masks now required outdoors at crowded Paris locations

PARIS —From the most romantic spots along the Seine to popular shopping streets, residents and visitors in Paris were required to wear face masks in some outdoor areas of the French capital starting Monday amid an uptick in reported coronavirus cases.

Police are authorized to issue a 35-euro (US$159) fine to people who do not follow the new public health requirement.

One location covered by the measure is the banks of the Canal Saint-Martin, among the city’s most popular outdoor spots for lunch or an aperitif with friends.

“In the morning when there is nobody on the canal, I think it is a bit of a drastic measure,” lawyer Helene Rames said after the face mask rule took effect.

“But it is true that at night and on the weekends, you can see many young people here close to each other, which is scary,” she added. “If it’s for the health of our elders then let’s wear it.”

Wearing a face mask outdoors also is required at the city’s open-air markets, at popular tourist sites like Notre Dame Cathedral and Montmartre district neighbourhoods, on several typically crowded streets and in parts of the Paris suburbs, authorities said.

A similar requirement is being applied in Marseille, France’s second-largest city, and dozens of other tourist destinations in France, including the French Riviera resort of Saint-Tropez.

A nationwide decree already requires people to wear masks in all stores and other indoor public places.

French health authorities warned that the country is going backward in its battle against the pandemic. They reported more than 2,000 new confirmed cases in 24 hours on Friday, the biggest single-day rise since May.

France has reported over 30,300 virus-related deaths since the start of the pandemic.

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