Restaurants, cinemas, sports halls… “I won’t go as long as the variants circulate”

Sports halls, cinemas, restaurants, there are those who can not wait to return, and the most worried about the variants, who will wait a little longer. – Lindsey Shuey / AP / SIPA

  • This Wednesday marks a new stage in deconfinement, with in particular the reopening of dining rooms and sports halls.
  • While many are happy, some are not yet ready to go to new closed public places, for fear of the coronavirus and its variants.

A little zumba class between noon and two, a canvas and a restaurant when you get out of work? After long months of restrictions, it is now possible. This Wednesday marks one more step towards a return to “normal”, with an additional step taken in deconfinement. On the program: curfew shifted to 11 p.m., but also and finally the reopening of bars and restaurants, sports halls, swimming pools, and the gradual increase in reception gauges in movie theaters.

What to rejoice the most eager to resume an active social and cultural life. But after more than a year of the coronavirus pandemic and barrier gestures, for those most freaked out by Covid-19, the idea of ​​frequenting closed public places again can be a source of concern.

“My immunity is too fragile”

For Valérie, this new stage of deconfinement “will hardly change anything. Even vaccinated, my immunity is too fragile. I hardly ever go out, I don’t even have a transport card anymore. So, with my partner, we will certainly not resume our subscription to the cinema, nor reconnect with the traditional weekly restaurant. Finally, we got used to doing without these things that we do not miss that much. We order or cook together, moments that I particularly appreciate. I don’t already know when I will be able to leave my house without checking that people nearby are wearing their masks correctly, so in a closed place… ”.

When you are vaccinated, “immunity rises to 60-80% after the first dose, drops between the fourth and sixth week, then rises to more than 90% two weeks after the second dose,” recalls Dr Jérôme Marty, general practitioner and president of the French Union for Free Medicine (UFML). But for immunocompromised people, vigilance remains in order, as well as a third dose of vaccine ”.

No cinema “as long as the variants circulate”

Although she is “passionate about cinema and adores the Cinémathèque Française”, Adèle has also decided to play it safe before remaking a canvas. “Having noticed that some spectators allow themselves to take off their masks when the theater plunges into darkness, I have decided that I will not return to the cinema or the theater as long as the variants are in circulation. And this, even if the programs are magnificent and that I am completely vaccinated. I prefer to be frustrated, but alive! “

Like her, Nathalie *, “62 years old and without comorbidity, does not plan to return to the gym. However, I played table tennis with pleasure, but for a year now, I have only been doing outdoor sports, ”she explains. If for the sixty-year-old, there is “no problem for the terraces, no indoor restaurant is planned. Likewise, cinemas and theaters will wait: I don’t trust others to keep the mask on. Although fully vaccinated with two doses of Pfizer, the variants scare me too much ”.

“Putting people in confidence”

“The fear remains justified, confirms Dr. Marty, insofar as there is no health pass yet. To date, only 40% of the population has received a dose, and 20% has received both, so you should not let go too quickly. If the message on the importance of ventilation starts to get across, we should go further ”. In a report published on April 28, the High Council of Public Health (HCSP) recommends a maximum CO2 level of 800 ppm (parts per million) in enclosed places open to the public. Where applicable, “a CO2 concentration greater than a threshold of 800 ppm must in all cases result in not occupying the room and acting in terms of ventilation / air renewal and / or reduction of the number of people. admitted to the premises of an ERP ” [établissement recevant du public].

In practice, “to give people confidence, we could set up a charter on enclosed spaces, posted at the entrance, with a commitment to measures defined to ensure good indoor air quality”, prescribed the Dr Marty. For the doctor, “we should take an example from Belgium, with a generalization of CO2 detectors, and ventilation or aeration operated as soon as the threshold of 700 to 800 ppm is exceeded. These are simple devices that reassure and work, but which are not – or too little – deployed in France ”.

“Take good habits”

The return to a semblance of normal life, Arnaud has already tried. “I tried to return to the gym between the first two confinements. Unfortunately, I noticed that there was no respect for barrier gestures, no distancing or cleaning of machines and apparatus. And also no wearing of the mask when moving around the premises. Some even entered the building unmasked and the staff said absolutely nothing to them. It’s still a shame for a place where you go for your well-being, ”regrets the young man, not ready to repeat the experience for the moment. Confident, Yves, does not intend to wait. “(This) Wednesday morning, I’m rushing to my gym! And for the cinema, I already have the program in my pocket! “

In these closed public places, “the problem is not so much the spacing as the ventilation and the capacity to renew the indoor air, insists Dr. Marty. It has been said for a year: 80% of transmission is through aerosolization. Faced with a virus that has this capacity to create variants, it is better to adopt good habits to avoid the progression of future vaccine-resistant variants ”.

Good habits, in fact, are becoming widespread. “Restaurant owners have understood that the windows had to be opened, and cinemas are also vigilant about ventilation,” he reassures. Also in theaters. “I went back to see a concert at the Philharmonie, where barrier gestures were very well respected,” Cassard rejoices. You should not be overly afraid, you just have to resume a classic life while continuing to be careful, that’s all! “

* First name has been changed

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