France reopens cafe and bistro terraces after six-month Covid shutdown

It’s a grand day for the French. Cafe and restaurant terraces reopened Wednesday after a six-month coronavirus shutdown deprived residents of the essence of French life — sipping coffee and wine with friends.

The French government is lifting restrictions incrementally to stave off a resurgence of Covid-19 and to give citizens back some of their signature “joie de vivre.” As part of the plan's first stage, France's 7 p.m. nightly curfew was pushed back to 9 p.m. and museums, theaters and cinemas reopened along with outdoor cafe terraces.

President Emmanuel Macron, among the first to take a seat at a cafe terrace, was seen chatting with Prime Minister Jean Castex, who was attending a movie later in the day.

Actress Emmanuel Beart went to a movie theater opening in the center of Paris where her latest film “L'Etreinte” ("The Embrace") was showing — among the scores of movies produced during the shutdown.

France is not the first European country to start getting back a semblance of social and cultural life. Italy, Belgium, Hungary and other nations already have started allowing outdoor dining, while drinking and eating indoors began Monday in Britain's pubs.

Eateries in France have been closed since the end of October, the longest time of any European country except Poland, where bars and restaurants reopened Saturday for outdoor service after being closed for seven months.

Some French cafe and restaurant owners have spent days preparing for Wednesday's milestone, even though rain is forecast for large swaths of the country, including Paris.

Still, the government has put limits on how much fun can be had. Restaurants are can fill only 50% of their outdoor seating areas and put no more than six people at a table. Movie theaters can only seat 35% of capacity, while museums must restrict entries so there is 8 square meters of space (86 square feet) per visitor.

 

Source: France reopens cafe and bistro terraces after six-month Covid shutdown (nbcnews.com)

 

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