Paris Bans Alcohol Along Popular Riverfront to Prevent Crowds Celebrating Return to Freedom

Police in the French capital declared a ban on alcoholic drinks on the banks of the Seine and the popular Canal Saint-Martin after crowds gathered there on Monday evening to enjoy their newly recovered freedom following eight weeks of lockdown.

After a two-month freeze, Paris slowly emerged from its torpor as hairdressers, florists, nail salons and some other businesses reopened – but under mandatory social distancing requirements.

Restaurants and bars – at the heart of France's proverbial joie de vivre – are still waiting to learn when they will be back in business and cafe life can resume under the French government’s phased-in lifting of restrictions it imposed to stem the country's coronavirus outbreak.

Meanwhile, some Parisians couldn't resist the temptation of celebrating their release from lockdown, and conviviality was accompanied by wine or beer.

As the sun set over the picturesque Canal Saint Martin, youths gathered for conversation, standing shoulder-to-shoulder or sitting knee-to-knee on the ground – until police moved in with a megaphone to disperse the crowd.

The Paris police chief later issued a ban on consumption of alcoholic drinks along the banks of the Seine river and the canal, saying he “deplored” having to take action to ensure distancing on the first day of de-confinement.

France was hit hard by Covid-19, recording more than 26,600 virus-related deaths as of Monday night.

Authorities, trying to strike a balance between public health and boosting the economy, have said they will reassess the situation in three weeks, wary of a second wave.

You can read this article as it originally appears at France 24 here.

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This article originally appeared at France 24.