France must review COVID-19 crowd limits on church attendance


FILE PHOTO: Worshippers attend a mass at Saint-Francois-Xavier church, as French churches reopen for religious gatherings after the government has reversed its ban, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Paris, France, May 24, 2020. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann/File Photo

PARIS (Reuters) - France's State Council, the country's highest court, on Sunday ordered the government to review a law limiting the number of people in churches during religious services to 30.

The Council said in a statement that the measure was not proportionate to coronavirus infection risks.

Last week, the government announced that a nationwide lockdown in place since Oct 30 would be unwound in phases.

Shops selling non-essential goods were allowed to reopen from Nov. 28 and indoor religious services were allowed to resume, but the number of worshippers was capped at 30 people, regardless of the size of the place of worship.

Catholic organisations have challenged the limit, arguing that churches and cathedrals are much more spacious than retail outlets, where the limit is one person per eight square metres.

(Reporting by Gilles Guillaume; Writing by Geert De Clercq; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

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