PARIS — French President Emmanuel Macron has kissed two World War II veterans on the cheeks, returning to a tradition that was abandoned at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.
French authorities have recommended people to avoid “la bise,” the custom of giving kisses of greeting, to avoid spreading the virus. Macron kissed the veterans on Friday while wearing a mask.
The president, who had COVID-19 in December and since been vaccinated against the disease, awarded the Legion of Honor to Leon Gautier, 98, a member of a French elite unite that took part in Normandy D-Day landings in 1944 and fellow World War II veteran Rene Crignola, 99, during a ceremony marking Gen. Charles De Gaulle’s June 18, 1940 appeal for the people of France to resist the Nazis.
The French government this week announced a relaxation of virus restrictions, including allowing people to forego masks outdoors. A nighttime curfew is set to end on Sunday.