The Galeries Lafayette department store at the Beaugrenelle mall.

PARIS Scrambling to contain a surge in coronavirus cases, local officials in Paris are restricting foot traffic in shopping centers and departments stores, and will allow only one visitor per four square meters, or the equivalent of nearly 11 square feet.

The measure, which was signed by Prefect Didier Lallement, came into effect Monday and runs through Oct. 19.

The measure is one of a series of restrictions ordered by the Paris Prefecture, which include prohibiting gatherings of more than 1,000 people, as well as groups of more than 10 people in public spaces. In its decision, the prefecture noted that family and festive events are particularly dangerous when it comes to spreading the virus.

France has experienced a rise in cases in recent weeks, and the health ministry said Monday that hospitalizations and deaths linked to COVID-19 continue to grow.  

Even before store closures during the lockdown this spring, French retailers had been struggling to recover from a series of business disruptions, notably civil unrest related to the yellow vest protest, which were followed by pension protests during the crucial holiday season last year. 

The tighter measures landed on the last day of Paris Fashion Week, which over the last eight days have included a handful of catwalk shows, including Dior, Hermès, Chloé, Balmain and Paco Rabanne. Chanel and Louis Vuitton are scheduled to wrap up the spring 2021 shows on Tuesday.

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