Picnics at last: Paris parks reopen after Covid-19 lockdown

People gather in Paris's garden of the Esplanade des Invalides on May 28, 2020, after the French Prime Minister announced the second phase of the easing of lockdown measures taken to curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, caused by the novel coronavirus.
People gather in Paris's garden of the Esplanade des Invalides on May 28, 2020, after the French Prime Minister announced the second phase of the easing of lockdown measures taken to curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, caused by the novel coronavirus. Ludovic MARIN AFP

Parks and gardens in Paris reopen on Saturday as France enters the second phase of its relaxation of lockdown rules that were imposed to stem the spread of Covid-19. 

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Many Parisians can at last enjoy their first picnics of the summer. The city’s parks and green spaces reopen on Saturday following Prime Minister Edouard Philippe’s address on Thursday, when he announced “good results” in the battle against Covid-19.

However, certain rules will be in place.  Visitors must maintain social distancing, are advised to wear face masks – though these are not obligatory – and gatherings must not exceed 10 people.

People will also be allowed to picnic and exercise in the parks but group sport sessions are still prohibited.

A further sixty parks that are either playgrounds or being renovated are excluded from the measure. Playgrounds will reopen gradually to allow for very thorough cleaning.

>> Read more: French bars, restaurants and parks to reopen with restrictions from June 2

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo had been pressing for the city’s parks and gardens to reopen for weeks, arguing that it would give residents of the densely populated capital much more space to move.

“If you don’t open parks and gardens for walking, sport, picnics, Parisians will relocate to sidewalks or places like riverbanks or the Canal Saint-Martin,” said Hidalgo.

Cafes and restaurants will reopen throughout the country from June 2.

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