This was a very awaited address. On April 28, the Prime Minister unveiled the government's deconfinement plan to the National Assembly. This was the occasion for Edouard Philippe to confirm that protective masks will be compulsory in public transit starting from May 11, 2020. The Prime Minister said that masks will also be mandatory in cabs and private hires that have no plexiglas protection.
But will sanctions be possible if one is not wearing a facemask in public transit? Interviewed by Europe 1 this April 29, Minister of Transport Jean-Baptiste Djebbari seems to say it. "From May 12, everyone must have a facemask", "there will be sanctions if this is not respected in public transit. We plan to capacitate safety services to refuse this kind of passengers (refusing to wear a mask (Editor's Note). (...) We plan for the the forces of order can be asked to step it. I discussed it with police prefect Didier Lallemant" Jean-Baptise Djebbari said on Europe 1.
Statements the Secretary of State for transit repeated and precised in Le Parisien on May 1st: "We will authorize SNCF and RATP special services, that are the Suge and the GPSR, the legal capacity to proceed to controls. And if need be, to fine. People who will want to order a private hire, a cab or go in a railway station without a mask could be denied access. If they go in no matter what, they will be fined." before adding the fine should cost as much as "something similar to the one in case of no derogatory trip certificate, that is to say 135 euros". "But this has not been decided yet" he said. But the goal is first and foremost pedagogy. "We will accompany users as they wear a mandatory facemask in public transit. We will make everything so that each one of them has on for May 11th" Djebbari explained.
This Saturday May 2, at the end of the council of Ministers, that also voted for the health emergency to be extended to July 24th, 2020, Secretary of the Interior Christophe Castaner confirmed Djebbari's statements as for controls and fines, in case of not wearing a facemask in public transit.
To do so, the government "extended the list of people allowed to notify offenses". In addition to the forces of order already mobilized, "deputy security offices, volunteer deputy policemen, police reserves, transit security officers, as well as officers of the services of the competent authorities for the stores' competition will be allowed to notify offenses to the health emergency and punish them".
For the record, making facemasks mandatory in public transit is subject to a debate. But after a meeting on April 23 with President Emmanuel Macron and mayors, the Elysée said that "facemasks will likely be compulsory" in public transit starting from May 11.
Following the statement, Valérie Pécresse said in an interview for BFMTV that masks will be given for free to public transit riders. "We must give masks first. We need everyone to have a mask. This is not the case today" she said. In order to "avoid crowd effects, too long queues that would be at the extreme opposite of barriere gestures" Ile-de-France region president said "We will think about modalities that will make that all travelers will have a mask, given by the region" before saying that "companies should also take over gradually".
For the record, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo confirmed this April 28 during an extraordinary Paris Council meeting that 2.2 million cloth facemasks will be given to Parisian by mid-May. Anne Hidalgo also said it was “really necessary” to make them mandatory in public transit.
Same call for Ile-de-France President Valérie Pécresse. “Wearing facemasks is what protects and it’s what protects especially in closed spaces such as public transit in which, by definition, it will be difficult to respect social distancing” she continues, “then, we need mandatory facemasks”.
Last but not least, SNCF CEO Jean-Pierre Farandou addressed on the matter. During a hearing at the Senate this April 15th, he explained he wanted to make “facemasks mandatory” in public transit, explaining the famous social distancing measures are “really hard to talk about” in trains.
After talks, the government makes facemasks mandatory in public transit starting from May 11 in order to fight against coronavirus. During his speech at the Assembly, Edouard Philippe said that "there will be enough masks for everyone on May 11".