If you are looking for couilles de mouton to eat in Paris next week, better do it before 9 pm or after 6 am. Starting this Saturday, the greater Paris region, Marseille, Toulouse, Montpellier and five other French cities will be under a curfew throughout much of the night and early morning. The curfew will extend from 9 p.m. each night to 6 a.m. the next morning. If you are caught outside vivre la vie during this time period, you will be fined a cool 135 Euros, which translates to about $158 or over 135 baguettes.
Why did French President Emmanuel Macron announce this curfew that is currently scheduled to last four weeks? Well, it’s all because of, French roll please, the Covid-19 coronavirus. The virus is starting to surge again in France, triggering a new state of emergency. For the third time in the past six days, the number of new cases of Covid-19 coronavirus infections exceeded the 20,000 threshold. So far, throughout the pandemic, France has had over 820,000 cases and over 33,000 deaths from Covid-19.
You will still be able to make essential trips during between the hours of 9 pm and 6 am, although going to a restaurant to eat sheep testicles will not count as essential. And don’t use the excuse that you were simply trying to go to the bathroom and somehow ended up outside in the park.
As of now, there won’t be movement restrictions during the day. People will still be able to ride public transport and travel among different French regions.
Macron’s announcement came just three days after the French Open tennis championships wrapped up on Sunday. The Grand Slam tournament is normally held in the late Spring in Stade Roland Garros in Paris, France. However, with the Covid-19 coronavirus rapidly spreading in the Spring, organizers of the tournament took an unprecedented step, because these are, in case you didn’t know it, unprecedented times. They moved this year’s edition of the clay court tournament to the Fall, running from September 27 to October 11. Seeing the French Open being played while the NFL was in the midst of its regular season was a bit like having hot dogs with peanut butter: unusual.
What’s happening in France is further evidence that the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV2) is exhibiting seasonality. Not seasoning, like some garlic or Herbes de Provence, but seasonality, as in the virus ,may become more or less transmissible and potentially more or less dangerous with the changing seasons. As I recently wrote for Forbes, a number of factors may make the Covid-19 coronavirus worse in the Northern Hemisphere this Fall and Winter, including lower temperatures and lower relative humidity.
So consider this a warning. You may have gotten away with not social distancing, not wearing face masks, and taking recommended precautions during the Summer. However, if you keep flouting public health recommendations, you may be in for a fall this Fall.