France’s government has said festivals convening more than 5,000 people will be banned until September, along with professional sports games.
The announcement was made by France’s Prime Minister Edouard Philippe in a televised address on Tuesday.
President Emmanuel Macron had said in an April 13 national address that festivals and events drawing large crowds would be banned until mid-July, leading the Cannes Film Festival to abandon its plan to host the fest in late June or early July.
The Tour de France, meanwhile, rescheduled its edition which was supposed to kick off on June 27 to Aug. 29. A raft of summer festivals have already canceled, including La Rochelle and Avignon festivals. The Annecy Film Festival canceled its physical edition but has organized a smaller online festival, while the Cannes Film Festival has ruled out a virtual alternative and is still exploring options for this fall. Two separate markets will, however, run in June — Cannes’ Marché du Film and an agency-led initiative.
The axing of all professional sports games, including the soccer (Ligue 1) and rugby championships, is a blow for broadcast rights-holders, including Canal Plus.
France has been in lockdown since March 17 and restrictions will start being lifted on May 11.
Meanwhile, museums, theaters, restaurants and bars will likely reopen on June 2, according to the government’s plans. Theaters, which have been shuttered since March 15, will remain closed until at least early July, according to several sources. The government has put in place several relief measures to help business owners, including exhibitors, by covering partial unemployment fees for employees and delaying tax payments.
France is one of the hardest hit countries in Europe with almost 23,000 deaths caused by coronavirus, roughly as much as Spain.