The global pandemic lockdowns and social distancing regulations have produced many new controversial firsts, leading to both disputes between citizens and law enforcement, and among people often wrangling with each other over things like mask wearing or proximity, or even the ability to have gatherings at a park.
Though we thought we’d seen everything, here’s yet another true first: municipal governments in France have begun mandating the wearing of masks outdoors.
“Beach resorts along France’s Atlantic coast, picturesque promenades on the Loire River, farmers markets in the Alps — they’re among scores of spots around France where everyone is now required to wear a mask outdoors,” the Associated Press reports.
The sure to be controversial policy in parts of the country comes as a national mask law goes into effect Monday; however, the mask law only mandates the wearing of a face covering indoors.
Currently, there are fears of a virus resurgence, with the French health authorities reporting 7,000 new cases over the course of the past week.
This second wave fear, such as the United States has been at the forefront of experiencing, is reportedly putting pressure on the government to go to the extreme of mandating the wearing of masks even outside.
The AP details further:
Several sites around France have started requiring masks outdoors in recent days. Starting Monday, 69 towns in the Mayenne region of western France imposed outdoor mask rules, as did parts of the northern city of Lille and coastal city of Biarritz in French Basque country.
Thus far there’s been a clear scientific consensus that coronavirus is more easily spreadable indoors, while there’s less danger for it’s spread in the outside open air.
The idea that France could soon see a nationwide “outdoor” mask law would prove to be hugely controversial, given that it would require everyone from hikers to joggers to people just walking even in isolation to be masked up.