The French government will begin rolling back its strict coronavirus lockdown next month by reopening the country’s famous sidewalk cafes and museums to “recover our French art of living” President Emmanuel Macron said Thursday, as his government prepares to allow vaccinated Americans travelers back in the country this summer.
From May 19, theaters, cinemas, museums and concert venues will be allowed to open their doors over several stages of restriction rollbacks if coronavirus case levels stay low, Macron said.
Outdoor dining areas like restaurant terraces and Paris’ popular sidewalk cafes will also be permitted to operate, though dining indoors will not be allowed until June.
Macron also announced the end of the widely unpopular 7 p.m. curfew, saying the it will be gradually rolled back to later times before being lifted altogether in June.
Nonessential retail shops can also reopen starting next month.
The announcement came little more than a week after Macron said vaccinated American travelers will be allowed back to France this summer after more than a year of a closed border.
During a recent appearance on CNN’s Face the Nation, Macron said he wants the upcoming tourist season to be “the best possible summer with the opportunity for your citizens to come to our country, because this is something we are very proud [of].”
On Sunday, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told the New York Times vaccinated Americans will be able to travel around Europe this summer for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began last year. While countries within the EU will likely be able to keep tougher travel guidelines in place, countries like France and Greece have indicated they are looking forward to having American tourists back if they’re vaccinated or test negative for coronavirus before their trip.