Paris bans nightime food and drink delivery to tackle worsening COVID-19 crisis


Paris (Reuters) – Paris will ban delivery and takeaway services for prepared food and alcohol between 2200 and 0600 local time from Friday to limit the spread of the coronavirus, police said on Thursday.

The police prefecture also said the sale and consumption of alcoholic drinks in public spaces would be banned at night from Nov 6.

President Emmanuel Macron imposed a new lockdown last month, forcing non-essential shops – such as those not selling basic foods or medicines – to close, and making people use signed documents to justify being out on the streets.

But a week into the lockdown, France still registers more than 40,000 new virus infections per day and intensive care units across the country are under stress as more than 4,000 ICU beds are now occupied by COVID-19 patients.

Restaurants, closed under lockdown rules, are allowed to serve takeaway and to deliver, but the prefecture said that at nighttime many customers and food couriers are congregating, despite the need to limit social interaction.

“When you get people who are not playing by the rules of the game, and are therefore putting at risk the health of a large number of people, that is when you need to put in place new restrictions,” Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said on BFM TV as she warned of restrictions on selling takeaway food and drink.

A French government source said this week that they had noted in Paris “clandestine parties, raves, private dinners”, and felt stricter measures were needed.

New COVID-19 lockdowns and curbs have stirred resistance across Europe even as countries including France and Spain deal with record daily infections and hospitals under pressure.

On Wednesday, France reported 40,558 new COVID-19 cases and a further 385 deaths, taking the country’s total death toll from COVID to 38,674 while the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases stands at around 1.5 million.

The Paris region health authority said in a statement that 92% of the region’s ICU capacity is now occupied, with nearly 1,050 Covid patients and 600 patients with other problems.

Gilles Pialoux, head of infectious diseases at the Paris Tenon hospital, told Reuters that given the infection rate in France, the only way to reduce the infection rate was to limit the circulation of people.

“We will probably have to forget about Christmas holidays in order to save 2021. This year, Christmas will be over Skype,” he said.

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