Sitting on a terrace, steaming coffee and hot croissant, Jean-Jacques Quenneville discovers the news when he opens his newspaper: in Paris now the mask is everywhere! “An attack on our freedom!”, He pleaded, while welcoming a measure which “no longer makes a difference between districts”.
“I will even have to put it under my helmet on a scooter, it’s insane! I have a visor, what interest?”, Growls this 57-year-old carpenter, for whom this piece of fabric is “a decoy” because ” there is no evidence that the virus is caught in the street “.
Since 8:00 a.m. Friday, wearing a mask, until now mandatory outdoors only in the busiest areas of Paris, is essential for everyone throughout the capital and in the inner suburbs, on the decision of the police prefect in the face of the upsurge of the coronavirus epidemic in Ile-de-France.
Only cyclists and joggers ultimately benefit from an exemption, at the request of the Paris City Hall.
“I will still keep it today. The time for the information to get down to the base …”, explains, cautiously, Olivier Heras, riding his electric bike in the direction of Montrouge. “I make long journeys to go to work, it would have been really embarrassing”, explains the 60-year-old banker.
For all others, pedestrians, scooters and two-wheelers, an uncovered face is punished with a fine of 135 euros, even if, at first, “the verbalization is not relevant”, advanced Thursday l Deputy Mayor of Paris Anne Souyris.
“We were just told that it was mandatory but we have not yet received any instructions,” admits a policewoman stationed at a crossroads near the Place de la Madeleine.
– “Fear of the wallet” –
From the inside pocket of his jacket, Kader Odh pulls a blue cloth mask, whitened by dust. “We are going to wear it, we have no choice! But it is more fear in the wallet than disease”, admits the forty-something, turning the key of his scooter, deeming the decision “exaggerated”.
Overall, a large majority of Parisians crossed in the streets of the capital on Friday morning respected the measure, even if some masks remain lowered under the chin or put on around the arm.
Crossed naked face Place de la Concorde, Thomas Weitermann, who came from Sweden with his partner for the weekend, thought that “the obligation was still limited to certain districts”. He says he “understands” the measure: “here in Paris, there are a lot of people. In Stockholm where I work, the mask is not compulsory because it is easier to keep the distance”.
Christine’s daily life, however, is not going to change. “I always wear my mask since confinement because I have co-morbidities,” she explains, keeping an eye on her dog on a leash. “I do not know if it is effective. We were first told that it was not necessary, now it is mandatory, we do not know what to think …”
“It’s clearer like that. Before, with only a few areas concerned, it was confusing,” greets Solène Delor, 25. “At least for a while, while waiting for things to calm down …”, considers the young woman.
“It is in my bag, I just took it off to smoke!”, Almost apologizes Maya Wolinska, 40, crossed near the National Assembly. “It’s a good thing because otherwise we will all quickly be affected. Better than ending up in the hospital with a ventilator.”