Paris institutes outdoor mask mandate, starting Friday

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PARIS — Masks will be mandatory outdoors in the French capital starting Friday, one of several new restrictions put in place to slow down the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant.

Paris police announced Wednesday that people aged 11 and over will be required to wear masks outdoors and in all public areas. Some exceptions are allowed, including for people taking exercise.

Prime Minister Jean Castex detailed earlier this week a series of new restrictions, including mandatory working from home for at least three days a week starting early January. Companies that are found in breach of this rule could be fined up to €50,000, Labor Minister Elisabeth Borne said Thursday.

The government is expected to announce new quarantine rules by the end of the week.

France is ramping up vaccination efforts, with people now eligible for a booster shot just three months after getting their last injection.

Outside gatherings will be limited to 5,000 but the government hasn't ruled on whether campaign events for the April presidential election will be subjected to such limits. Castex said a committee gathering all political parties would be assembled in the new year to discuss and define specific rules.

France also tightened restrictions before Christmas on travel from the U.K., with confusion reigning as to whether British nationals residing in the EU can travel via France.

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