Covid-19: French Government announces reopening of concert halls, theatres, museums and cinemas

Prime Minister Édouard Philippe - Photo: Website Matignon

On Thursday May 28 at 11:00 am, French Prime Minister, Édouard Philippe – surrounded by several Government Ministers including Olivier Véran (Minister of Solidarity and Health) and Jean-Michel Blanquer (Minister of National Education) – held a press conference in Matignon to announce the measures taken in the 2nd phase of the “deconfinement” in France and the French Overseas Territories.

Salle George Tarer PàP
George Tarer Hall in Pointe-à-Pitre (Guadeloupe)

The measures announced by the Government concern the islands of the French Caribbean (Guadeloupe, Martinique, St. Martin and St. Barthélemy) as well as French Guiana, located on the South American continent.

In the cultural field, we note the reopening of concert halls, museums, theatres and monuments on June 2 and, twenty days later, the reopening of cinemas in the green zone, i.e. the entire French territory except Île-de-France, French Guiana and Mayotte, which are classified in the orange zone.

“(…) I am fully aware of the practical difficulty of reopening these facilities when programming was disrupted, when rehearsal could not take place, but it seems to us that if some can do it then they can. Rules of physical distancing will have to be respected by a specific organisation of the seated places, a flow management in accordance with the health protocol of these spaces and the wearing of masks will be compulsory (…) Throughout the territory, cinemas will reopen from June 22, this request was made to us by the cinema owners themselves who wanted the reopening to be national so that they could organize the programming of the movie screens (…)”, explained Édouard Philippe.

According to the Prime Minister, the “greatest adversary” are the very large gatherings: “In the open-air areas, a maximum capacity of 5,000 people, which may, if necessary, be reduced by the Prefects, will be set. In covered and confined spaces, for example concert halls, and depending on the activities, the operators will have to propose and ensure appropriate rules of use, particularly with regard to capacity and physical distancing”.

The Government hopes that operators will be able “to determine the conditions for the organization of their halls, the conditions for wandering, crossing, physical distancing (…)”. They are thus placed in front of their “responsibilities” and they could be assisted by the services of the State and local authorities.

As for nightclubs, they will remain closed to the public at least until June 21.