So after the government closed all of the non-essential businesses and cafés, movie theatres and restaurants on Saturday at midnight, the French decided to simply go for picnics with their friends and family in the parks and along the canals. #Restezchezvous (#stayhome) started trending, but it seemed most weren’t listening. So, inevitably, tonight President Macron announced more strict measures will go into effect Tuesday at noon to restrict all movement in France for (at least) 15 days.
Major Points in the New Coronavirus Lockdown Rules for France
- “We are at war” (he said this a few times)
- People are ordered to stay at home for the next 15 days and only go out for essential activities (work if they can’t do it from home, food shopping, doctor/pharmacy visits); anyone ignoring the restrictions will be punished (they didn’t say how yet, but it will likely be announced when the Interior Minister speaks in an hour)
- The EU’s external borders will close for 30 days starting Tuesday midday; the same applies to the Schengen Area’s internal borders (French nationals will be able to return home though)
- The second round of municipal elections has been suspended, along with the government’s reform agenda, most notably its controversial overhaul of the pension system
- The army and military hospitals will be mobilized to help transport and care for the sick; a field hospital will be set up in the hard-hit eastern Alsace region
- Taxis and hotels will be engaged/hired to help with transporting and housing the healthcare workers and those who are sick.
- No businesses will go bankrupt because of this, no employees will go unpaid; the government will provide assistance with a €300billion package that will include interest-free loans, and other measures to ensure companies can still pay their employees (businesses who are struggling will have their rent, energy bills, taxes, and social security payments suspended)
- There is no shortage of food or regular pharmacy supplies, so there’s no need to “stock up” more than your usual shopping.
For the Latest Updates in English
Another good source of information in English is on news site France24: https://www.france24.com/en/20200317-france-s-coronavirus-lockdown-what-you-can-and-can-t-do