As it happened: France reopens cafés, cultural venues after six-month Covid-19 closure

Visitors stroll in the Louvre museum in Paris as cultural venues reopen for the first time in almost 200 days.
Visitors stroll in the Louvre museum in Paris as cultural venues reopen for the first time in almost 200 days. © Thibault Camus, AP

France’s long wait for a “café en terrasse” finally ended on Wednesday as bars, restaurants and cultural venues reopened at partial capacity after a protracted pandemic shutdown. Follow the day as it unfolded on our liveblog.

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Wednesday marked a key stage in government plans to gradually reopen the country, six months after a second nationwide Covid-19 lockdown was enforced in October.

Cafés, restaurants and bars reopened their outdoor terraces to groups of up to six and at 50 percent capacity, while cultural venues including theatres, cinemas and museums also reopened at partial capacity.

President Emmanuel Macron hailed "a little moment of freedom regained" as he enjoyed a first coffee at a café close to the presidential palace in Paris.

A 7pm nationwide curfew was pushed back to 9pm, though the government warned it could reverse such measures should infections start rising again.

The loosening of restrictions comes as more than 20 million people have received at least one Covid-19 vaccine jab; and with the number of patients in intensive care now at 4,250, down from around 6,000 a month ago.

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