Fearful and Fearless of De-Confinement
As of today, we’re “de-confined.” I won’t know what to do with myself! The new normal has become normal…so now my brain has to rethink, re-react, re-plan everything that has already been set into motion. It’s almost frightening to consider and lacks a sense of security knowing that we can all go out, behave relatively normal, but still take precautions such as social distancing, wearing masks, endlessly cleaning our hands, etc.
Here is France’s official “strategie de deconfinement” with the official map showing the green, orange and red zones. The orange zones have disappeared, but Paris is still very much a part of the red zone and that means we’ll be the last to see the most lenient measures. The map can be found here at the official government site.
Phase I lasts for three weeks. Whether you are living in a red or green zone will determine what rules and restrictions will apply. In red zones, they really want people to stay at home and work, as much as they can. But, about 400,000 businesses will be reopening. Masks are encouraged to be worn and we can’t travel beyond 100 kilometers from home. As of yesterday, that was only 1 kilometer. No more “attestations” are required to leave home, but be prepared to have a proof of address should you be stopped. Going outside of that 100 kilometers requires a special attestation, but be advised that the travel can be only for what’s considered imperative for work or family.
Public transport will be running, but wear your mask at all times. And, it will be limited to people who have an attestation proving the travel is for work or other imperative nature. I haven’t been on a bus or Métro for two months, so I wonder what it will even feel like! One-fifth to one-third of the high-speed trains (TGVs) and intercity trains will operate. Besides mask-wearing, social distancing will be required. Don’t have a mask? Be prepared to fork out €135 for a fine if you don’t.
We can finally have our friends over, but no more than 10 people. Fine. I can’t fit more than six around my table, anyway. But, get this: no kissing, hugging, etc. And socializing indoors isn’t recommended, anyway. So, I can’t meet friends for dinner, because bars and restaurants will remain closed until further notice, but I can cook for them, now that I’m back in the habit of it.
Walking, jogging, biking, is all good, as long as we stay far away from one another…like as much as five meters. This has to be a mistake! It’s not possible to walk “with” someone if you’re five meters away, that’s 16 feet away if don’t know the metric system. That’s like being in another room entirely, so what’s the point? If you play tennis, singles tennis allowed, but doubles tennis is not! And no indoor courts…sorry. Golf is okay, but no more than 10 people in a game and one person per golf cart, please. Love to ride horses? No problem. The riding schools are open. Want to attend a yoga class? Just be sure there are four meters between you and the next person (you can yoga closer than walk with someone!), and it must be held outdoors…so pick a nice park.
Parks and gardens will be open in the green departments, but not the red ones, except for the Bois de Boulogne and the Bois de Vincennes in Paris. And in Paris, at least we’ll have the Champ de Mars, the Esplanade des Invalides, and the riverbanks, but the restriction is 10 meters of distance between you. Are they nuts? Have they done the physical test or does someone have their math wrong? No swimming in pools, no working out at an indoor gym, no indoor sports. Period. Beaches still won’t open, except in some exceptions, based on the local authorities. I think this is particularly over the top. Where better to be healthy than the beach? While religious centers can remain open, no gatherings will be allowed, except for funerals and burials. Want to get married? Forget it. You can die, but you can’t get married.
Shops will be open. So will hairstylists, barbers and manicurists, and beauty salons. I already have my manicure appointment! Shopping centers smaller than 40,000 square meters will be open, but the larger ones will remain closed unless the local authorities give the green light. Don’t expect to pile into a store, however…distance, distance, distance. That means no cinemas, concerts, theaters, museums…but go figure, libraries will reopen as will media centers and small museums. I wonder what constitutes “small?” Even the government doesn’t know how to define it.
Don’t count on events, demonstrations, or festivals with more than 5,000 people to take place until at least by September. Boy, that puts a big kibosh on the Summer. No Jazz Festival in Nice. No picnic on the Champ de Mars on July 14th or Bals des Pompiers the night before. No Gay Pride Parade. What about Paris Plage?
Parents will be happy to know that nursery, primary and elementary schools will open immediately, but with a limit of 10 to 15 kids per group or class. Staff must wear masks, but not the kids. Middle schools will reopen May 18th and high schools might get a green light by June, but then the school year is almost over anyway. And the real shocker is that the famous baccalaureate exam, for the first time since Napoleon introduced it in 1808, will be replaced by regular progress checks of coursework and homework…more akin to how the grading system in the U.S. evaluates a graduate or not.
Meanwhile, some of us in confinement have been doing great things worth sharing with you. Check out photographer and writer Meredith Mullins article is written from her life on the Ile Saint-Louis, where she found she “loved the island even more as [she] wrote this.” Visit oh-i-see.com.
Ever wonder about the secret life of Coco Chanel? Edith de Belleville will be giving a talk on Zoom.us this coming Friday the 15th at 12 noon Eastern Time, 6 p.m. here in Paris. It’s free and it’s in English. Email Edith at [email protected] to get the Zoom link!
Earful Tower podcaster Oliver Gee’s new book Paris On Air is out in the audio version and I have a tiny, tiny, tiny voice role in it. Here’s how you get the book in a variety of formats. And if you’re listening to the audiobook and trying to find my two minutes of fame, go to Chapter 5, about 20 minutes in!
Last, but not least, stay tuned for a new House Hunters International called “Where They Are Now?” taped from our respective homes this week with me in Paris and John Garland Jones in Nice, the star of “Finding a Voice in Nice, France” (Season 139, Episode 8), it will be a first-time experience for us to virtually tape a show. It’s sure to be aired sometime in the near future.
Meanwhile, you can watch the episode from the HGTV.com site: Season 139, Episode 8
Finding a Voice in Nice, France
After having a rough year, a Texas man is taking a daring leap by selling his landlocked house and pursuing a singing career in Nice, France. His good friend and property expert have pulled off many French miracles in the past but getting her buddy to downsize into a fabulous yet affordable home could be her greatest challenge yet.
Click here to see the episode.
A la prochaine…
Adrian Leeds Group
(by Mike Mancini)
P.S. Don’t forget, tomorrow’s Après Midi goes LIVE on ZOOM! Full details are below.