I returned from vacation yesterday evening and needed to catch up with what’s going to be happening in France this week.
There are several Covid-related rules changes – what else! – in France this week from changes to mask rules in schools and free Covid tests to the Paris Marathon.
The Semaine du Goût (taste week) runs all this week to celebrate all things flavourful (mainly French cuisine and wine). The programme includes tasting sessions, quizzes and workshops on making everything from patisserie to crêpes all over France.
From Monday, primary schools in 21 départements of France will scrap mask rules in the classroom. This is in addition to the 47 areas that scrapped the rule last Monday and comes as Covid cases in France (thankfully) continue to steadily fall.
French president Emmanuel Macron will continue in apparent campaign mode on Tuesday albeit without actually having announced he will definitely stand for re-election. He will explain his plan for France 2030 which will lay out how the government will invest tens of billions in technology for the future in the hope French tech companies can rival US or Chinese competitors.
There will be nationwide strikes by museum and gallery staff protesting against the use of the Covid-19 health pass. Members of the public must show their pass (vaccination, negative test or recovery from Covid-19) to gain entry into France’s most famous monuments and sites.
The measure aims to keep the infection spread down and to encourage people to get vaccinated but unions say it is no longer needed due to the high level of vaccinations and the fact mask wearing is obligatory in cultural sites.The strike is set to begin on Wednesday but may continue………….
It had been suggested that the French health pass could be lifted in certain parts of the country where infection rates are low, but the government has now announced that no relaxation will take place before 15th November.
The decision not to relax restrictions, even though France as a whole has now passed below the alert level of 50 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, was based on advise from the Scientific Council. The panel of scientists who advise the government called for caution as France enters the winter period, where the virus is more likely to spread.
Members of France’s Socialist Party will vote for their chosen candidate for the 2022 presidential election. It looks like it will be the current Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo, but current polls also suggest she has very little chance of being elected next April. All that could change of course over the coming months.
Covid tests are no longer free for everyone. From today there are new rules on who qualifies for free testing. The tests remain free for anyone who has Covid symptoms or is a contact case, but if you are not vaccinated, ‘convenience tests’ such as those needed for travel or to use the health passport must be paid for (Euros 45). Tests for under 18s remain free in all circumstances.
Weekly protests against the health pass continue, although these are now much shrunken in number and in most places number just a few hundred people.
Rescheduled Paris marathon (finally) takes place. The 2020 event, due to be held in February, was one of the first events to be cancelled. Organisers have attempted to reschedule several times since then and now, 19 months later, it is finally going ahead. The race is a health passport event and will take place on the traditional route through the centre of Paris.
What’s happening in your neck of the woods?