Outdoor partying on New Year’s Eve in France was banned by French officials under new government regulations to hold off the spread of the Omicron COVID-19 variant. As many people in France are currently on their winter vacations, French Prime Minister Jean Castex asked them in a televised speech for their cooperation to avoid celebrating large gatherings. “I understand the frustration to limit yourselves in such festive moments, but we owe that to our health-care personnel,” Castex said.

Several public parties and fireworks displays were prohibited in France on New Year’s Eve, as it closed down nightclubs (excluding bars). Additionally, both vaccinated and unvaccinated guests were required to take a COVID-19 self-test before they could attend year-end celebrations. Moreover, starting this year, only vaccinated individuals are allowed to get a “health pass” to several business places like bars, restaurants, and medical facilities. Currently, several hundred Omicron cases have been recorded in France, making it the strongest strain by mid-January. However, Castex noted that it does not show to be more dangerous than the Delta variant, and existing COVID-19 vaccines are effective based on data.