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Paris cafes partially reopen post-lockdown

Paris cafes partially reopen post-lockdown

The Paris City Hall authorized the partial reopening of outside seating areas like cafes and restaurants while indoors will remain closed to visitors until at least June 22, AFP reports.

In Paris, the symbol of the post-lockdown era are opened cafes and restaurants. Parisians who have been cooped up for months with takeout food and coffee will be able to savour their steaks tartare in the fresh air and cobbled streets once more — albeit in smaller companies and with keeping of a certain social distance.

Traditionally, the City of Light famed for its vibrant cafe society and coffee culture will get some of its pre-lockdown life back as cafes and restaurants partially reopen Tuesday.

For French people, the toughest requirement is keeping the social distance. Dampening the mood of new freedom, distancing of one meter between tables will be obligatory and drastically reduce the numbers.

Taking into account that Paris is well-known for its tiny chairs and fashionably-small round tables, the post-lockdown reopened cafes look totally different. Normally, 50-centimetre-wide tables often touch each other, but now the social distance lowers capacity in some outside areas by over half.

To help matters, the normally space-restricting Paris City Hall is now allowing restaurateurs to be expansive — and have issued an authorization for them to enlarge their outside areas, or create one, without the normal legal red tape until Sept. 30.

To do this, they will have to sign a charter promising to respect “pedestrian traffic, the cleanliness of the premises, safety or even noise reduction vis-à-vis residents.” But some restaurateurs have said that they haven’t received the charter, and the details remain fuzzy and confusing.

However, it’s a start, the cafe owners believe. Customers will have the freedom to eat without wearing a mask, but as soon as nature calls they will be required to don one to go to the inside bathroom.

Some have complained that the government’s speedy announcement of the plans, just five days before reopening, was also problematic.