France will soon require people to wear masks in enclosed public places to prevent a rebound in COVID-19 cases, French President Emmanuel Macron said Tuesday.
After a two-month lockdown starting in March, France began easing restrictions in May, and reopened bars and restaurants in early June. But in recent weeks, France’s virus reproduction rate has crept up to a point each person with COVID-19 is infecting at least one other person. COVID-19 is the disease caused by the coronavirus.
"We have some signs that it's coming back a bit," Macron said in an interview Tuesday with French broadcasters. "Faced with that, we must anticipate and prepare.”
While reopening, France recommended people use masks but did not require them, except on public transit and in public spaces where social distancing is not possible — a requirement that did not apply to shopping in stores.
"I want us, in the next few weeks, to make masks compulsory in enclosed public places,” Macron said. "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.”
Around 30,000 people have died of COVID-19 in France, which has recorded close to 200,000 confirmed cases, according to the Johns Hopkins University COVID-19 dashboard.