Parisians step into 2022 with tame celebrations due to COVID-19
Parisians tried hard to get into a festive mood on Friday (December 31) as France stepped into the new year, but many thought COVID-19 restrictions made celebrations more subdued than usual.
New infections over the last 24 hours were above 200,000 for the third day running, making France one of the epicentres as a wave of infections linked to the Omicron variant sweeps across Europe.
The traditional New Year’s Eve fireworks display centered on the Arc de Triomphe and the Champs Elysees was cancelled because city authorities said they feared it would lead to large crowds of people unable to observe social distancing. Dancing at hospitality venues and nightclubs was forbidden.
“It’s understandable,” said Jonas Berstein, A German tourist who had come to Paris for the celebrations.
However, restaurants could still welcome diners along the famous avenue.
For Cafe Jade bar owner Dimitri Tarsi, this new year was a quiet one.
Police restricted access to the top of the Champs Elysees, alcohol consumption was forbidden in certain areas of Paris and bars had to close at 2 am (0100GMT).
In a broadcast New Year’s Eve address a few hours before midnight, French President Emmanuel Macron said the next few weeks would be difficult after registering 232,200 new COVID-19 cases over the last 24 hours, its highest-ever recorded total.