PARIS (Reuters) - Paris’ Champs Elysee avenue will be pedestrianised on Sunday evening and wearing face masks will be compulsory, officials said on the eve of Paris St Germain taking on Bayern Munich in soccer’s Champions League final.
Several thousand people flocked to the famed avenue on Tuesday night to celebrate the Ligue 1 champions reaching the final of Europe’s premier club tournament for the first time after they beat RB Leipzig.
Few wore protective face gear despite a spike in coronavirus infections in France, while bars were also packed as people watched the game, sparking concern over social distancing.
Police will be deployed to the Champs Elysee and the area around PSG’s Parc des Princes stadium on Sunday night, when PSG meet German champions Bayern in Lisbon, France’s Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said.
They will hand out face masks to anyone not wearing one, Darmanin added.
“I’m calling on everyone to act responsibly to ensure (the event) can be an expression of joy and not a source of problems for Parisians,” Darmanin said in televised comments.
Some PSG players also urged fans to take care.
“It’s a unique and important moment, I hope you too will respect protective measures,” defender Thiago Silva said on a video distributed by the club on Twitter.
On Friday, the French health ministry reported 4,586 new coronavirus infections over the past 24 hours, after the country reached a post-lockdown record the previous day.
Seventeen metro stations will be closed in Paris on Sunday evening, Darmanin said. On Tuesday, 37 people were arrested for disturbances following the semi-final celebrations.
Reporting by Sarah White, editing by Pritha Sarkar
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