Travel restrictions around France set to be lifted as ‘no regional end to lockdown’ says Macron

While international travel is still heavily restricted, travelling from one part of France to another should be allowed when lockdown ends on May 11th, the president has confirmed.

After a video call with mayors and local government officials, the Elysées Palace has laid out more details of the easing of lockdown restrictions in France.

As well as announcing that parents will not be forced to send their children back to school as they reopen, the official statement from French president Emmanuel Macron’s office also spoke about travel around France.

At present all non-essential travel is banned with only trips out of the home for work or to go to local shops or health centres allowed.

But from May 11th the country will start to be gradually reopened, with schools reopening and many employees returning to work.

Macron has now confirmed that the déconfinement (ending of lockdown) will be done on a national basis, not region by region as some had predicted.

Although local authorities will still be allowed some leeway if there is a particular local need.

The statement from the Elysées Palace also added that “the president is working to ensure that there will be no problem moving from one region to another after May 11th”.

There had been speculation that travel around France would remain restricted until the middle of June.

But people will still be encouraged to avoid movement between areas is possible.

The country’s Director General of Health Jérôme Salomon said: “What will have to be avoided are inter-regional transport and exchanges of population between massively affected areas and less affected areas, (or) this is how we will reactivate the circulation of the virus.

“It is an attitude that we must have during deconfinement, to be very attentive to interregional flows.”

The travel rules will be particularly relevant to the thousands of Parisians who fled the capital at the start of the lockdown to their second homes in the country – it is estimated that the city’s population has fallen by 24 percent during the lockdown.

The déconfinement will take place on a “national basis”, “which does not prevent local and territorial adaptations”, adds the Elysée.

Coronavirus cases have not been evenly distributed around France, with the eastern French region of Grand Est and the greater Paris Île-de-France region having far more cases than the rest of the country.

But with around 30 percent of France’s GDP concentrated in Paris, there was also economic pressure to reopen the region around the capital.

On the subject of the resumption of public transport, Macron said: “it would be necessary to give a health and organisational specification for the resumption of public transport” but also “rules of distancing” and “probably impose the wearing of masks in public transport”.

At present the various ministries are putting together their own plans, which will be gathered into a national plan to be debated by the French Parliament at the start of May.

Once that has happened a more detailed plan for the lifting of lockdown can be released.

thelocal.fr / Balkantimes.press

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