France deploying riot police to enforce masks


A family wearing protective face masks walk along on the Champs Elysee avenue, with Arc de Triomphe in background, in Paris, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2020. Paris extended the areas of the city where pedestrians will be obliged to wear masks starting Saturday morning after health officials said that the coronavirus is “active”. The Champs-Elysees Avenue and the neighbourhood around the Louvre Museum are among zones where masks will be obligatory. (AP Photo/Kamil Zihnioglu)

PARIS (NewsNation) — The French government is sending riot police to the Marseille region to help enforce mask requirements, as more and more towns and neighborhoods are imposing mask rules starting Monday to slow rising coronavirus infections.

Government spokesman Gabriel Attal announced Monday that 130 police officers are being sent to the Marseille region, which expanded its outdoor mask requirements to all farmers’ markets and more neighborhoods Friday.

France has seen scattered incidents of violence by people refusing to wear masks. Paris expanded its mask requirements Saturday, and other towns around France started requiring masks outdoors on Monday.

From the most romantic spots along the Seine to popular shopping streets, residents and visitors in Paris are required to wear masks in some outdoor areas of the French capital.

Police are authorized to issue a 135-euro ($159) fine to people who do not follow the new public health requirement.

Wearing a face mask outdoors also is required at the city’s open-air markets, at popular tourist sites like Notre Dame Cathedral and Montmartre district neighborhoods, on several typically crowded streets and in parts of the Paris suburbs.

A similar requirement is being applied in Marseille, France’s second-largest city, and dozens of other tourist destinations in France, including the Riviera resort of Saint-Tropez.

Infections have been rising around France in recent days, with 3,015 new cases Sunday, one of the highest daily increases since the country lifted a strict two-month lockdown in May.

More than 30,400 people have died with the virus in France, one of the highest death tolls in the world.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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