France relaxes Covid mask rules

Mask-wearing remains in force at work venues and on public transport.

Visitors will no longer have to wear masks in museums, such as the Louvre in Paris, the French government has said. AFP

Mask rules are being eased in France as the fifth coronavirus wave subsides after a surge driven by the highly contagious Omicron variant.

From Monday, masks are not needed for visitors to museums and cinemas but people will still need a vaccine pass to enter such venues, making it harder for unvaccinated people to attend cultural events.

Mask-wearing remains in force at workplaces and on public transport.

Case numbers, hospital and emergency care admissions are all down, French figures showed.

For fully vaccinated people, only one antigen or PCR self-test — instead of three — will now be required two days after contact with a Covid-19 case.

A PCR lab test is also needed if a self-test shows positive. If positive, fully vaccinated people must self-isolate for seven days.

The isolation period can be reduced if a patient has a negative self-test after five days and if there are no symptoms.

In schools, mask mandates have been lifted for children in outdoor playgrounds. Inside school buildings, children age 6 and older must still wear masks.

For children who come into contact with a positive case, a Covid-19 test should be taken two days afterwards.

If negative, the child can continue attending lessons. If positive, the child should start a seven-day isolation.

The Omicron wave, first identified in southern Africa, hit Europe in December and forced many nations into tightening coronavirus restrictions.

The Netherlands imposed a full lockdown shortly before Christmas and the UK imposed tighter restrictions under its Plan B.

On January 25, France posted a record 501,635 new cases for the previous 24 hours. The latest figure was 42,600.

France has approved a vaccine pass banning unvaccinated people from all restaurants, sports arenas and other venues.

Updated: February 28, 2022, 5:14 PM