Paris bars shut as French capital placed on maximum COVID-19 alert
Updated 00:57, 07-Oct-2020
Ross Cullen in Paris


Bars in Paris will have to close for two weeks from 6 October after the city was put on maximum coronavirus alert. 

Meanwhile, restaurants will be allowed to stay open if they implement tougher sanitary measures. These are just two of the new restrictions being imposed on the French capital as COVID-19 infections continue to surge. 

The city's authorities said they hope these measures will "put a brake" on the spread of the virus.

In addition to the new restrictions on the hospitality sector, sports clubs will remain closed, although they will be open for children during the school holidays. The capacity in university lecture theatres has also been reduced by 50 percent and student parties, festive gatherings in public places, fairs and exhibitions, have all been banned.


French police implement new sanitary measures in an attempt to halt the spread of COVID-19 in the capital. /Thomas Coex/AFP

French police implement new sanitary measures in an attempt to halt the spread of COVID-19 in the capital. /Thomas Coex/AFP


The director of the Paris capital region's health agency, Aurelien Rousseau, said there were 203 active clusters of COVID-19 cases in the region.

The bar closures will have a financial impact on a sector that had already been hit hard during the spring lockdown. 

"Financially, it's very complicated," said Maxime Simonneau, the manager of the Gentlemen 1919 speakeasy bar. "Restaurants were listened to more than bars. Compared with last year, our income is down 70 percent. And then there were the 'yellow vest' and the pension reform protests. So it's really been a black year."


Restaurants in Paris will have to introduce additional sanitary protocols to stay open. Wearing a mask when moving around inside and using hand sanitizer are compulsory measures that are already in place. Now they must adhere to further health protocols, such as taking customers' contact details to help track-and-trace efforts and limiting the number of people who can sit together at any one table.

Prime Minister Jean Castex's office said on 4 October there had been no improvement in the Paris region since the capital passed all three of the government's criteria for being put on the highest level of alert last week. The closure of Marseille's restaurants and bars caused anger among business owners and the government says that while bars in France's second city will remain closed, Marseille's bistros and brasseries can reopen.

Video Editor: Paula Harvey