Paris institutes outdoor mask mandate, starting Friday

PARIS – Starting Friday, the French capital will be required to wear masks outdoors, one of several new restrictions put in place to slow the spread of the variant of Omicron coronavirus.

Paris police announced Wednesday when people 11 years and older are required to wear masks outdoors and in all public areas. Some exceptions are allowed, including for people who play sports.

Prime Minister Jean Castex outlined a number of new restrictions earlier this week, including compulsory home work at least three days a week from early January. Companies that violate this rule could be fined up to € 50,000, said Labor Minister Elisabeth Borne said Thursday.

The government is expected to announce new quarantine rules by the end of the week.

France is stepping up vaccination efforts, with people now entitled to a booster vaccination just three months after the last injection.

Outdoor gatherings will be capped at 5,000, but the government has not yet decided whether campaign rallies for the April presidential election will be subject to such restrictions. Castex said a committee of all political parties will meet in the new year to discuss and define specific rules.

France also tightened UK travel restrictions ahead of Christmas, with confusion over whether UK nationals residing in the EU could travel through France.

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