Dec 29, 2021 - World

Paris mandates outdoor mask wearing amid COVID surge

People wearing face masks walk near the Arc de Triomphe in Paris

People wearing face masks walk near the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. Photo: Gao Jing/Xinhua via Getty Images

Parisians will be required to wear masks outdoors starting Friday as part of an effort to stymie the spread of COVID-19 driven by the Omicron variant, French police announced Wednesday.

Driving the news: France reported 208,000 new infections Wednesday, setting a new national and European record, Reuters reported.

  • On Tuesday, France had reported 180,000 new infections, itself also a record, per Reuters.
  • "We have never experienced a situation like this," French health minister Olivier Véran said during a press briefing Wednesday, Le Monde reported.

Details: The new mandate will apply to all citizens over the age of 11, with several exceptions permitted, including for cyclists, people participating in a sporting activity, or traveling inside vehicles, per the statement.

  • The rule will also apply to Paris airports Charles de Gaulle, Le Bourget and Paris-Orly.

The big picture: As for the rest of France, authorities in several regions have imposed requirements to wear masks outdoors during New Year's Eve celebrations, Le Monde reported.

  • French police also announced Wednesday that bars in Paris will be ordered to close at 2am on Jan. 1 and Jan. 2.
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