French Government Considering Mask Mandates Once Again

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NICE, France (AP). – France’s tourism is booming. COVID-19 is also booming. French officials “invited” and “recommended” people to use face masks again, but did not renew restrictions that could scare away visitors or revive anti-government protests.

Many people, from Paris commuters to tourists along the French Riviera, seem to appreciate the government’s gentle touch. However, some are concerned that necessary prevention measures might be required.

According to government data, virus-related hospitalizations in France rose rapidly over the past week, with almost 1,000 COVID-19 patients being admitted per day. According to Our World in Data, infections are increasing in Europe and the United States. However, France has a high percentage of patients in hospitals.

Olivia Gregoire, a spokesperson for the French government, stated that there is no plan to introduce national regulations that restrict or set conditions for gathering indoors.

She said Wednesday that the French people were sick of restrictions on channel BFMTV. “We are certain that people will act responsibly,” she said.

France’s parliamentary elections resulted from last month in President Emmanuel Macron losing the majority of his national legislature majority, while far-right and far-left parties that protested the earlier mask and vaccine rules were elected to seats.

Raphaelle Vertaldi, a commuter, said that the prime minister had recommended that people wear masks again on public transport.

Vertaldi was onboard a train in Boussy-Saint-Antoine, south of Paris. She said that she did not support mandatory mask use, but would still cover her nose and mouth if required by the government.

Hassani Mohammed was a Parisian postal worker who didn’t wait until the government made a decision. He covers up for his daily commute. He doesn’t want to risk the coronavirus again, especially since his wife is recovering from surgery.

Mohammed stated, “I realized the pandemic is not a past event.”

France has been contentious about masks. The French government suggested that masks were not helpful in the early stages of the pandemic. The French government eventually introduced the most severe restrictions in Europe, including an indoors-and-outdoors mask mandate that lasted for more than a full year and strict lockdowns.

Tuesday’s ruling by a Paris court found that the French government did not adequately stockpile surgical masks in time to stop the pandemic from spreading. Paris’s administrative court ruled that masks were not effective in protecting people from getting infected.

Foreign tourists are now able to travel by land, air, or sea to French Mediterranean beaches, bars, restaurants, and bars.

French hospitals are currently struggling with funding and staff shortages as well as long-running staff issues. Officials in France are considering new measures, such as a mandate for indoor masks in certain cities. However, this will not stop the economic activity.

French tourism professionals anticipate a boom season despite the virus. This is because Americans are able to take advantage of the weaker euro, and other countries have rediscovered foreign travel after more than two decades of being more restricted.

A slow economic recovery started last summer on the French Riviera. However, the majority of visitors to the region were French, with limited attendance, travel restrictions, and social distancing rules in place since last year.

The Nice tour guide and electric bike taxi driver described her joy at seeing foreigners again. During France’s multiple lockdowns, she was able to transport essential workers and take people to hospitals to care for their elderly relatives, or to perform PCR tests.

Passengers from the U.S. and other countries can now reach for the hand disinfectant taped between the drivers and passenger seats. She stated that she disinfects her bike every ride “like it was 2020.”

This week, a retired couple from the U.K. traveled to France for their first overseas trip since the lifting of pandemic travel restrictions. They began with a cruise on the River Rhone, where face masks were required on board. Then they spent a few days in the Mediterranean.

Ros Runcie, who was there with Gordon, said that it had been a wonderful experience. “Everyone is so happy to see you. Everyone is really polite to visitors.

Sue Baker was on a trip with Phil and the Runcies. She observed that it felt very much like pre-2021.

Phil Baker, when asked about the possibility of French mask rules being returned, said that “Masks can be a bit uncomfortable, especially during the heat.”

His wife said, “If it means that we can still go on a holiday, then we’ll put them on again without hesitation.”