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France Prepares for Month-Long Partial Lockdown

Αssociated Press

A man wearing a mask walks in the street in the center of Lyon, central France, Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani)

French doctors are expressing relief and business owners despair as France prepares to shut down for a month to try to put the brakes on a fast-moving fall coronavirus outbreak.

Shoppers at a Paris farmers’ market said Thursday they were ready to relinquish some freedom given the country's rising number of virus-related deaths and COVID-19 patients filling French hospitals.

The new lockdown is gentler than the one the French government ordered in the spring, but restaurants and other non-essential businesses have been ordered to close their doors in one of the world’s biggest economies.

French schools will stay open this time, to reduce learning gaps and allow parents to keep working. Farmer’ markets, parks and factories can also continue operating, officials said.

French lawmakers are voting Thursday on the new restrictions announced by President Emmanuel Macron, which are set to come into effect at midnight. The lower house of parliament is dominated by Macron’s centrist party, so approval is virtually guaranteed. The prime minister plans to lay out details of the virus-fighting plan Thursday evening.