French sports grounds to accept limited crowds from mid-July

Paris, Jun 20 (efe-epa).- A limited number of spectators will be able to return to France’s sporting grounds from mid-July, according to a government plan set out on Saturday.

France’s cinemas and casinos are also due to open in the coming week as the country progresses with its gradual lifting of the restrictions in place to contain the spread of coronavirus.

French prime minister Édouard Philippe said in a statement that cinemas and casinos could reopen to the public on 22 June.

Team sport activities can also resume from Monday, so long as hygiene protocol is observed.

The government added that, from 11 July, stadiums and hippodromes could accommodate up to 5,000 spectators, a rule that is due to remain in place through the summer months until 1 September.

France’s top-flight soccer league, Ligue 1, was called off early this year because of the pandemic. It was the only major European league to do so — competitions in England, Spain, Italy and Germany have all got back underway behind closed doors. 

The Tour de France was also postponed until the end of August due to the restrictions on crowd sizes.

France’s state of emergency is due to expire on 10 July, at which point the government will allow river cruises once again.

Philippe said that the government would study the resumption of fairs, expositions, nightclubs and international cruises for September depending on the health situation in the country.

The government said it would in the coming days present a roadmap detailing how it would handle any second wave of infections without having to reimplement a nationwide lockdown.

Some 14 people died from coronavirus in France in the last 24 hours, bringing the overall total since the outbreak began to 29,617, according to health authorities. EFE-EPA


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