Coronavirus: France to allow face-covered religious gatherings

France is to allow the resumption of religious gatherings after a two-month hiatus caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, but worshippers will have to wear face masks, the French interior ministry announced.

The ministry said late on Friday that it would issue a decree setting out the new rules for religious gatherings.

Under the decree, a ban on gatherings imposed in March, as part of government efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus, would be rescinded. But collective worship would have to observe conditions, including the wearing of masks, a distance of at least one meter between worshippers and hand-washing, the ministry said in a statement.

Muslims — who make up around nine per cent of France’s population, according to a 2017 report by the Pew Research Center — are this weekend celebrating Eid al-Fitr, the festival marking the end of the holy Muslim month of fasting.

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