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24 April 2020updated 06 Oct 2020 9:45am

Millions of reusable face masks to be made available in France, but they won’t be mandatory

By Samuel Horti

Millions of reusable face masks will be made available to the French public through pharmacies, supermarkets, newspaper shops and online from early May, and will cost a maximum of €5, the French government has said.

Junior Finance Minister Agnes Pannier-Runacher told newspaper Les Echos that suppliers had produced more than 10 million textile masks last week, and that output should reach 25 million by the end of the month.

Until 11 May, when lockdown is due to end, those masks will be sold to companies and municipalities, but from 4 May the general public will also be able to buy them, he said. 

In a video call with mayors yesterday, President Emmanuel Macron indicated that masks would likely be mandatory on public transport once the lockdown ends, but that they would only be recommended in other settings. He also said the government would “probably” release its detailed plan for ending the coronavirus lockdown next Tuesday, 28 April.

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Today, Health Minister Olivier Veran said reusable masks filter out up to 90 per cent of coronavirus particles and will cost between €2 and €5. “They take a while to make but they offer security. I prefer that to telling French people to put a scarf around their nose or make a mask from a T-shirt,” he told France Inter radio.