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World News

Police exempt cyclists from wearing face masks in Paris

PARIS (Reuters) - Cyclists and people taking exercise in Paris will be exempt from a new requirement to wear masks outdoors to combat a surge in coronavirus infections, police said on Friday.

The city’s police department said officers would issue verbal warnings before imposing fines as many people were confused by changes in the rules on face coverings.

From Friday, authorities have made it compulsory to wear masks everywhere in Paris. Until now, masks were mostly required in crowded areas of the city.

“It was not very clear for people to know where to wear (a mask) or not on the streets in Paris,” resident Lauriane, who works in marketing, told Reuters.

“So the fact that it’s been put in place everywhere in Paris, I find it quite consistent,” she added.

The new measures apply to pedestrians as well as people riding scooters and motorcycles in Paris and its suburbs. Motorists will not have to wear masks in their cars.

Police warned on Friday that establishments whose clients did not respect mask rules could be closed down.

Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo said on Twitter that middle school students would receive washable masks when they return to school on Sept. 1.

Only children aged 11 and above will have to wear masks, the police department said.

France on Thursday reported its highest level of daily new confirmed COVID-19 infections since a strict nationwide lockdown ended on May 11.

Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta, Matthieu Protard and Yiming Woo; Editing by Alex Richardson and Giles Elgood

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