France sees the corona numbers going in the right direction and will therefore ease the lockdown in stages from Saturday. Although the French can celebrate the holidays under certain conditions, bars and restaurants will remain closed until at least January 20th. Germany, on the other hand, does not expect the strict measures to be relaxed this year.
French curfew does not apply on public holidays
In a press conference, Prime Minister Jean Castex says he understands the frustration of the French about the long duration of the measures, but also indicates that the measures are starting to bear fruit. As a result, there can be relaxed gradually, and that relaxation will take place in stages.
The first phase of relaxation will start on Saturday when the lockdown will be replaced by a curfew. This means that the stores may also open their doors again that day, with due observance of hygiene measures. Places of worship may welcome up to thirty people from Saturday. From December 15, museums, cinemas and theaters may reopen.
The curfew will in any case apply until the end of January, according to Castex. The curfew will only be waived on December 24 and 31, during the holidays. “But that doesn’t mean we can celebrate Christmas or New Year like previous years,” he added. The number of contacts during the holidays should still be limited. The French government gives more concrete recommendations in the run-up to the holidays.
At the end of January, it will then be examined whether the restaurants, secondary schools and universities can open again. “A difficult, but necessary decision,” Castex called the extended closure of the catering industry. That is why he wants to make 2021 the ‘year of French gastronomy’. However, he has not yet given further details about this.
Germany sees no possibility of relaxing the corona measures for the holidays. The current measures are likely to continue into January, Chancellor Angela Merkel said in parliament on Thursday.
“Given the high number of infections, we assume that the restrictions will continue until the beginning of January, especially for most regions. Unfortunately, we have to say that we cannot promise any easing before Christmas and New Years Eve.”
Merkel’s chief of staff added that the cabinet hopes to be able to implement easing with the cabinet from March: from then on, Germany would be able to vaccinate residents on a large scale. Until then, the limitation of social contacts will probably continue to apply.