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France to accelerate easing of coronavirus lockdown restrictions

Restaurants and cafes in Paris will be allowed to reopen fully on Monday, President Emmanuel Macron said in a televised address.
Image: A woman rides a bicycle as France eases lockdown measures on June 14, 2020.
A woman rides a bicycle as France eases lockdown measures on Sunday, June 14, 2020.Benoit Tessier / Reuters

PARIS — French President Emmanuel Macron said Sunday that he was accelerating plans to ease the country's coronavirus lockdown to revive the eurozone's second-biggest economy more swiftly.

Macron promised that the cost of keeping companies afloat and people in jobs during the worst economic downturn since World War II would not be passed on to households through taxes.

Restaurants and cafes in Paris will be allowed to reopen fully Monday, Macron said in a televised address, bringing relief to a hospitality industry battered by the crisis.

On June 22, all nursery schools, primary schools and junior high schools will be open and mandatory for all students — instead of holding classes capped at small groups and many children staying at home.

France is reopening its borders with other European countries Sunday night and will start allowing visitors from other continents July 1.

The government expects the economy to shrink by 11 percent in 2020.

"We must relaunch our economy," Macron said.

The coronavirus emergency had exposed France's — and, more broadly, Europe's — heavy reliance on global supply chains, from the car industry to smartphones to pharmaceuticals, that were paralyzed when the epidemic broke out in China.

"The only answer is to build a new, stronger economic model, work and produce more, so as not to rely on others," Macron said.

As of Sunday, France had 193,746 confirmed cased and 39,401 deaths due to the coronavirus, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Macron also touched on the anti-racism protests that have spread to France in the wake of the death of George Floyd in the United States.

The global outpouring of anger has forced France to confront allegations from ethnic minorities and rights groups of racism and brutality within France's law enforcement agencies.

Macron said skin color too often reduces a person's opportunities in France, promising to be unflinching against all discrimination.

The Associated Press contributed.