PARIS (AP) — French authorities placed the Paris region on maximum virus alert on Monday, banning festive gatherings and requiring all bars to close but allowing restaurants to remain open, as numbers of infections increased rapidly.
Paris police prefect Didier Lallement announced the new restrictions would apply at least for the next two weeks.
“We are continuously adapting to the reality of the virus. We are taking measures to slow down (its spread),” he said.
French authorities consider bars to be major infection hot spots because patrons don’t respect social distancing rules as much as they do at restaurants.
Starting on Tuesday, bars will be closed in Paris and its suburbs. Student parties and all other festive and family events in establishments open to the public will be banned.
Restaurants will remain open under strict conditions. They include a minimum one-meter (three-foot) distance between each table, groups limited to six people instead of 10 previously, and a request to register customers’ names and phone numbers to help alert those who may have been exposed to someone with the coronavirus.