France has been on lockdown since March 17th with a strict 'stay home' policy, but that starts to change on May 11th.
Across the country, French workers are preparing for the 'new normal' and the strict cleanliness and social distancing measures that are necessary for this to happen, such as the bus company employees seen below installing stickers to remind passengers of the safe distance they must keep between each other and the mandatory use of masks on public transport.
The loosening of restrictions will be slow and gradual, and this is only the first phase, but from Monday shops and businesses can reopen, and some school classes will start to go back. Below is a photo of a school classroom in Marseille being tested and cleaned.
People will no longer need a permission form every time they leave the house, but the form will still be needed for journeys of more than 100km. Public transport, which has been running a skeleton service during the lockdown, will expand services from Monday.
Journeys of more than 100km will be allowed for essential purposes only, but people are in general asked to keep their travel to a minimum with the Prime Minister saying “now is not the time for a weekend trip”.
Trains will be running on limited services still although national rail company SNCF is gradually ramping up the number of trains running every day. Only half of the seats per train will be up for sale to comply with security rules of social distancing.
The same is the case for local transport services, with Paris rail company RATP gluing stickers on seats to remind people to keep every other seat open.
Ahead of the reopening, businesses are preparing for operating under new conditions, making sure everyone respects social distancing and with extra hygiene measures in place.
Hairdressers will be permitted to open from Monday, but with strict rules in place.
Masks are on sale now, and from Monday will be compulsory on public transport and in some workplaces and shops. Anyone wanting a haircut will also need to wear a mask.
But many things will not change – bars and cafés will stay closed and anyone who can work at home should continue to do so. So this man in Givors, near Lyon, and his cat may have to stay indoors counting the days until June 2nd, when the next phase begins.