It is understandable to feel a little confused about the Coronavirus lockdown situation in Paris right now. There have been mixed messages about what Parisians can and cannot do, and this is largely down to the uncertainty and escalation of events.
It wasn’t long ago that citizens were encouraged to head out to the theatre and live a fairly normal life. Then came the calls for social distancing. Now residents can only leave their homes in certain conditions after President Macron declared “we are at war”. The elections were on and now they’re off.
Coronavirus: What is the real situation in Paris?
The general rule now is that Parisians cannot leave their homes under this period of lockdown unless they need to go and buy groceries, go to get medication from the pharmacy or go to work because they can’t work from home. Exemptions may also be possible for vital family emergencies. In each case, residents need a signed form that highlights their reasons for being outside. Patrols will ask for those papers. Fail to produce that and you could be fined. So, it is OK to go out for those essential reasons and to practice hygiene and social distancing while doing so.
The truth is that even if you were to head out into Paris right now, there isn’t much that is open.
Bars and restaurants are shut, major galleries and museums have closed their doors too and there is even talk of restricting access to Paris’ Parks. While this is all alarming and unfamiliar right now, we have to remember that it is just temporary. Once the worst of the situation is over and Covid-19 case numbers drop, life will get back to normal. For now, Parisians and prospective tourists need to be patient, respect the restrictions of lockdown and stay positive. The Paris we know and love will be back soon enough.