Evening Update Wednesday 19 May 2021

French Health Minister Olivier Veran has said that he hopes to be able to "turn the page on Covid-19" in November or December. Speaking on French television this moring, he said that "in the middle of the autumn or the approach of winter" we will be able to consider that the pandemic "is behind us" if there are no new variants. He said that people will have been sufficeintly vaccinated by that time.

President Macron and Prime Minster Jean Castex visited a cafe terrace before the defence council meeting this morning to mark the partial reopening of the restaurant sector. The President called the opportunity to have a coffee on a terrace "a little bit of rediscovered freedom" but said that people should "remain cautious". Earlier this evening Jean Castex and Culture Minister Roselyne Bachelot attended the showing of a film at a re-opened cinema in Paris.

Locally, the Prefect of the Var has issued a decree removing the obligation to wear a mask in certain areas. Wearing a mask is no longer compulsory in the Var on beaches or lakes in areas of sand, gravel or pebbles in the immediate vicinity of the body of water, and in natural areas such as forest massifs. There is also no obligation to wear a mask for users of an individual means of transport, for people practicing physical and sporting activity and for people with disabilities who have a medical certificate justifying an exemption. However, the wearing a mask remains compulsory in several situations including on seafronts, walks and establishments open to the public.

The Prefect of the Var's decree relating to the prohibition of garage and flea markets has been repealed but a strict sanitary protocol must be observed. The Prefect has, however, issued a decree extending many other health measures until Wednesday, June 9. There's still a prohibition on deliveries by restaurants and bars between 10:30 p.m. and 6 a.m. and a ban on the consumption of alcoholic beverages on public roads with the exception of furnished terraces and in compliance with health protocols. The sale, carrying, transport and use of  fireworks is still prohibited.  

A large demonstration by police officers from throughout France has been held in Paris after the recent death of an officer in Avignon. According to police unions, 35,000 people were present at the demonstration in front of the National Assembly. Unions are demanding more severe penalties for those who attack officers. Interior minister Gerald Darmanin was present at the gathering but was heckled by some members of the crowd.

The mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, has announced the creation of a strategic tourism committee which he said will "position Nice at the forefront of global urban tourism". He said that the Metropole Nice Cot