Masks are now required upon entry to stores, supermarkets, fresh produce markets, and banks, as well as any covered space where people might have to interact in close proximity.
“I want us, in the next few weeks, to make masks compulsory in enclosed public places,” he said.
“I ask fellow citizens to wear masks as much as possible when they are outside, and especially so when they are in an enclosed space.”
The news was confirmed by Prime Minister Jean Castex in the Senate on July 16.
Masks are compulsory in enclosed spaces as part of an effort to prevent a second wave of coronavirus. The “R” number, indicating the viral transmission rate, has risen to 1.2, meaning every infected person is in turn infecting 1.2 people.
In Brittany, this number is much higher, with an “R” number of 2.6. This means that infected people are passing on the virus to almost three others, the BBC reported.
The latest official data indicates that there were 119 coronavirus cases hospitalized in 24 hours, although this is an improvement of the high of 4,231 in April.
Mayenne was the first area calling for mandatory mask-wearing, after a surge in new cases last week.
Santé Public France, a health agency, stated that Mayenne had passed the alert threshold with 50 new cases per 10,000 inhabitants.
French Health Minister Olivier Véran warned there were “400 to 500 active clusters” of the virus.
He urged citizens to “remain vigilant,” and warned that if cases continued to rise, the country could return to tighter constrictions or re-enter lockdown.
France had originally warned against using masks at the start of the pandemic so masks could be used exclusively by healthcare workers, noted France 24.
However, once the lockdown was eased on May 11, facial coverings were required on public transport, as well as upon entry to popular tourist attractions such as the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower.
Workers in the food and hospitality industries are also required to wear masks while on duty.
U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams has pleaded with Fox and Friends viewers, encouraging individuals to cover their face as much as possible.
“It relies on the individual people of America doing the right thing, and that’s why I’m pleading with your viewers, I’m begging you: Please understand that we are not trying to take away your freedoms when we say wear a face covering,” he said.