France to make face masks mandatory in public places indoors from next week

16 July 2020, 09:48

Emmanuel Macron originally said masks would be mandatory from 1 August
Emmanuel Macron originally said masks would be mandatory from 1 August. Picture: PA
Rachael Kennedy

By Rachael Kennedy

France is to make the wearing of face masks a mandatory requirement in closed public spaces from next week, according to Prime Minister Jean Castex.

The announcement on Thursday means France is pushing forward its schedule for compulsory masks after President Emmanuel Macron said earlier in the week that it would come into effect from 1 August.

Speaking in the Senate, Mr Castex said he understood the original August deadline "appeared late," and had therefore reviewed the date.

He did not give a specific day next week that the change would come into effect.

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Until now, face masks have been compulsory on public transport and in places where social distancing is not possible.

From next week, this will now extend to shops and other enclosed areas.

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More than 30,000 people have died with coronavirus in France - and while the numbers are slowly decreasing, the nation is still concerned of a possible second outbreak.

In an interview this week, Mr Macron said there had been "some signs" that the virus was re-emerging in some places, saying in response that "we must anticipate and prepare".

He added: "I want us, in the next few weeks, to make masks compulsory in enclosed public places.

"I ask fellow citizens to wear masks as much as possible when they are outside, and especially so when they are in an enclosed space."

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READ MORE: Face masks will be mandatory in shops in England from 24 July

France's decision comes a day before Boris Johnson is expected to give his own update on face masks across England.

On Tuesday, the prime minister said coverings should be worn in shops after evidence had "been growing" on their effectiveness.

He told Sky News: "Face coverings are an extra insurance we can all use to stop it coming back, and stop it getting out of control again."

New legislation to bring this into force is expected to be introduced on 24 July, with fines of up to £100 for anyone who does not comply.