France lays out rules ahead of reopening of bar, restaurant terraces

By Paul Myers - RFI
MAY 14, 2021 LISTEN

French business chiefs have urged owners of small bars and restaurants to make sure tables are well separated with decent barriers between them when they reopen on 19 May after more than six months of closure to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

Big establishments will operate with a 50 percent limit under the government proposals, which will also shift back the start of the daily curfew to 9pm.

Cinemas, museums and non-essential businesses will also reopen.

“When there are only four or six tables…it's not practical to impose the 50 percent limit,” said Alain Griset, minister for small and medium enterprises. “So the principle is that there are separations between the tables so as to allow protection. It can be a Plexiglas, it can be plants, whatever.”

Death toll

More than 106,000 people have died in France since January 2020 during the coronavirus pandemic.

The ministry of finance says cafes and restaurants should ensure a maximum of 6 people per table and prevent clients from standing up while drinking.

Customers will have to wear a mask when they place their order. They will have to keep their mask on until their meal arrives. It will have to be worn again when they pay.

Under the government measures aimed at reinvigorating the economy and returning the country to a semblance of normal life, swimming pools will reopen next week and open air festivals welcoming up to 1,000 people can resume.

Funeral ceremonies will be allowed to admit up to 50 people and places of worship will be permitted to use one seat out of three, staggered between each row.

However, gatherings of more than 10 people will remain prohibited in public spaces, except for guided tours.

From 9 June -- when customers will be allowed to sit inside restaurants and cafes -- owners will have to measure the carbon dioxide in the air.

Above 800 parts per million (ppm) they will have reduce the number of customers or open the doors and windows. If the ppm rises above 1,000, the room will have to be cleared until the level drops below 800.