Paris prefect bans riverside drinking after post-lockdown parties

Crowds of mostly young people in Paris gathered together with drinks and without masks at sites beside the River Seine and the Saint-Martin canal to celebrate the end on Monday of the lockdown on public movement, prompting the capital's police prefect to ban alcohol consumption at the locations for fear of a spread of the Covid-19 virus.

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Parisians have been banned from drinking alcohol on the banks of the Saint-Martin canal and the Seine river after police were forced to disperse crowds just hours after an eight-week coronavirus lockdown was eased, reports The Guardian

Many city dwellers stuck in flats without balconies, terraces or gardens for almost two months turned out on Monday evening to celebrate. Photos quickly circulated of unmasked revellers gathering by the water in the French capital.

On the orders of the interior ministry, Paris’s police prefect issued a ban, saying it “deplored” having to do so in an indignant press release reminding everyone that the success of the déconfinement rested on “the principle of each citizen’s individual responsibility”.

“Barely a few hours after the lifting of the lockdown, dozens of people gathered … without respecting social distances and the health recommendations that have even so been hammered home for the past few weeks,” the press release said.

“The prefect of police deplores the fact that, on the first day of déconfinement, he has had to take measures to prohibit the consumption of alcohol on the public highway.”

The interior minister, Christophe Castaner, also expressed his displeasure, criticising the “irresponsible behaviour”. “The success of the déconfinement depends on everyone’s prudence and civic-mindedness,” he wrote on Twitter.

In another blow to city-dwellers, the health minister, Olivier Véran, ruled out reopening the city’s parks and gardens. The mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, had requested people be allowed to use the open spaces that have been closed since March 17th.

“No, we will not reopen the parks and gardens in Paris, in the Île-de-France and in regions that are classified as red [where the virus is still circulating] because it can be extremely tempting with the sun that we have today for people to regroup too much and not respect the 10-people limit as well as social distancing,” Véran told reporters.

Read more of this report from The Guardian.


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