Stopping short of a lockdown or the addition of curfews as some other European countries have imposed recently, France is introducing new measures to combat the spread of the Omicron variant. Chief among them affecting the entertainment industry is that consuming food and drink in cinemas will be banned beginning Monday, January 3, for a period of three weeks.
France recorded 100K new Covid cases on December 25.
While there were no new capacity restrictions added for cinemas, public gatherings will be limited to 2,000 people indoors and 5,000 outdoors. Concerts where attendees stand also are kiboshed for three weeks; in bars and cafés, patrons will have to be seated.
French Prime Minister Jean Castex made the announcement in a press conference this evening local time. Also potentially coming into effect will be the requirement to be fully vaccinated to access leisure venues, including cinemas. This measure still needs to be voted upon by the French Parliament and, if approved, would take effect on January 15. Currently, a so-called “health pass” is necessary to attend cinemas and other public activities, but it provides the option for presenting a negative Covid test — this latter element no longer would be accepted.
Castex tonight called the overall situation in France “very tense” and said the fifth wave of Covid was “far from over.” Vaccinations are “at the heart of our strategy” to “protect oneself, protect others and protect health care workers.” France is “in a race against the clock,” the PM said.
In other new measures, the wait time between a second vaccination and a third dose will be reduced to three months from the current four in France. Masks may be mandatory outside in town centers, and work-from-home also will be obligatory for three days minimum, where possible, from Monday. The introduction of a new curfew will be re-examined on January 5.
Added Castex, “It feels like a never-ending film, but we have made progress.”