Starting Monday, the use of face masks will be mandatory in all indoor public spaces in France, health officials said.
President Emmanuel Macron said during a televised interview Tuesday that the implementation of the law was scheduled for Aug. 1. The announcement came as the country experienced a steady increase since the economy began its reopening phase, on May 11.
But on Thursday, the country’s health minister, Olivier Véran, announced that the date had been moved, amid concern of a resurgence of new infections across the country.
“We’re following an array of indicators of what I’m calling ‘weak signals’ of the epidemic starting up again: calls to emergency doctors’ services, calls to emergency services, the number of hospital admissions,” he told reporters.
“And that’s why I’m asking the French people to stay particularly attentive,” he added.
On Saturday, Véran took to Twitter to remind French residents about the earlier-than-expected implementation of the directive.
“As of Monday, wearing a mask will be compulsory in enclosed spaces, as announced [by the French prime minister Jean Castex.] This concerns shops, establishments open to the public, covered markets, banks,” he wrote. “Barrier gestures and screening remain essential to effectively fight the virus.”
France has identified hundreds of coronavirus clusters since the end of the lockdown, about two months ago. Areas in western and southern France have been particularly affected.
Besides the face mask requirement, the prime minister also announced that he would start reinforcing checks on people arriving in France from countries with worse infection rates, and he’d also make it easier for people to get tested.