French state to give out 40m face masks to hard-up families
Ross Cullen

The French government has said 40 million face masks are going to be sent out for free to the most vulnerable families.

It is now compulsory to wear face coverings in indoor spaces in France with a fine of $150 for non-compliance.

Wearing a face mask on public transport has been obligatory in France since mid-May, while putting a nose-and-mouth covering on in shops, supermarkets and banks is also obligatory.


When it comes to the most vulnerable, national solidarity must work
 -  Olivier Gayraud, a legal expert at CCVL


The move to give out free masks comes as the government faces criticism for its lack of help for families struggling amid coronavirus restrictions.

Olivier Gayraud, a legal expert at CCVL, a consumer rights association, says that making face masks cheaper for everyone would be a big help.

"When it comes to the most vulnerable, national solidarity must work," he told CGTN Europe.

"Because there's no option for those people. If we want to win the war against COVID-19, everyone has to wear a mask to keep everyone else safe.

"Taxpayers must be involved. For the whole population, that would be too much. But a great way to halve people's budgets is to impose lower prices for masks."

Compulsory face masks are aimed at curbing the coronavirus, especially in the capital, Paris, where the number of cases is rising slowly but continuously.


The historic city of La Rochelle is forcing people to wear masks outside. CGTN

The historic city of La Rochelle is forcing people to wear masks outside. CGTN


And the government is sending millions of masks to those most in need.

Family finances have already been impacted by the closure of schools during lockdown. Children had to stay at home, which meant parents spent more on meals and on top of this families have then needed to buy face masks to use on public transport.

Some places have gone even further, with authorities in La Rochelle forcing people to wear masks outside.

The Atlantic coastal city is gearing up for summer and faces large groups of tourists arriving.

Jean-Philippe Plez, the city's deputy mayor, said: "At first, it's about creating awareness but if at the end of the month we see that it's not enough, we will start with fines up to $44.

"We will do everything to avoid it, what we want to do is explain why we have to wear it."

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