On Thursday, March 19, the French government announced that outdoor physical activity (such as jogging) will be restricted to a radius of 2 km from home during the coronavirus lockdown. Cycling has been completely banned.
The French Ministry of Sport clarified its stance on the issue in a series of tweets.
1km, 2km max… Il n’est pas question de s’éloigner de chez soi. La règle est au confinement pour tout le monde. Rappelez-vous que vous ne devez sortir que pour des urgences comme les courses ou votre santé. Un petit footing est possible pour votre équilibre mais pas un 10km !
— Ministère des Sports🤾♂️ (@Sports_gouv) March 19, 2020
“A 1 km or 2 km run maximum, they said. “It’s not about getting far away from your house. The rule is confinement for everyone. Remember that you should only be leaving for emergencies or for your health. A little jog is good for your sanity but not a 10 km run.”
The French Federation of Cycling (FFC) has asked all cyclists to cease all outdoor riding. “In the face of the COVID-19 epidemic,” it says, “the FFC asks all cyclists to act responsibly and avoid all outdoor riding during this period. ‘Save lives! Stay home'”
📢 Face à l'épidémie de COVID-19, la @FFCyclisme demande à tous les cyclistes de faire preuve de responsabilité en évitant toute pratique à l'extérieur durant cette période.
Un seul mot d'ordre : "Sauvez des vies ! Restez chez vous !"
Plus d'informations ⤵ pic.twitter.com/tj0l3WJn8n
— FFC (@FFCyclisme) March 19, 2020
More than 9,100 people in France have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, and the country has confirmed 264 deaths as of Wednesday evening. Extreme measures and restrictions on cycling are being put in place not only to keep people from leaving their houses, but also to avoid activities that could potentially lead to injury—an unnecessary strain on the already overwhelmed health system.
French citizens react
Although most are understanding of the restrictions, some French citizens are upset.
“This measure is really pure stupidity,” says Guillaume Multrier. “What are we risking riding solo? We’re farther from others than in all the other authorized activities.”
C’est vraiment le genre de mesure qui est de la connerie pure : que risque-t-on a faire du vélo seul? On est plus loin des autres que dans toutes les activités autorisees
— Guillaume Multrier (@GMultrier) March 19, 2020
@lb_paris75 explained that the measures having been put in place to avoid virus propagation, but also to avoid having more people in the hospitals. “If you fall or is you have a physical problem,” they ask, “what will happen then?”
Les gens ne comprennent pas que le but est double eviter la propagation du virus + eviter d’avoir du monde dans les hôpitaux, si tu tombes ou si tu as un problème physique il se passe quoi ?
— LB (@lb_paris75) March 19, 2020
As of March 18, the French government tripled the fine for breaking lockdown. A new decree allows police to fine anybody breaking the lockdown €135.