Let there be jazz: France sets rules for summer festivals amid pandemic uncertainty

FILE PHOTO: A Carnival float depecting the novel coronavirus is seen in Nice amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in France, February 16, 2021. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard/File Photo

PARIS (Reuters) – Summer festivals will be able to go ahead in France this year despite the enduring COVID-19 crisis, but attendance will be capped at 5,000 people and the public must be seated, the country’s culture ministry said on Thursday.

From jazz festivals to outdoor theater, towns and cities across France host summer festivals, but existing COVID-19 restrictions and a lack of certainty over when the pandemic will end left organisers demanding clarity from the government.

“It is essential that we give visibility to our festival organisers who, early in the year, must decide whether to proceed and in what format, even if the pandemic will continue to create uncertainty,” the culture ministry said in a statement.

The rules will apply to indoor and outdoor events.

A nightly curfew from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. is currently in place in France. Restaurants, bars, museums, theatres and concert halls are all closed. Gatherings are limited to 1,000 people.

If the health crisis deteriorated, the cap on attendees and other safety protocol would have to be modified, the ministry said.

A 30 million euro fund will be made available to compensate festivals which have to make changes or cancel their plans, it added.

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