Coronavirus reflections: Face masks, Islamic dress and colonial differentiation.
online resourceposted on 28.01.2021, 09:07 by Kim Brayson
Like many countries across the world, France is currently negotiating the coronavirus pandemic and has recently begun to emerge from lockdown by circulating a slogan not dissimilar to the UK government ‘Sauvez des vies, restez prudent’ (Save lives, stay alert). What then is so notable about the French plan to tackle coronavirus and be free from lockdown? Aside from the bureaucratic plan developed in France, the significant and noteworthy method of returning to some sense of ‘normalcy’ is to mandate the wearing of face masks. As of the 11 May wearing face masks has become compulsory in French public space. This is despite earlier claims by French government spokesperson Sibeth Ndiaye, that face masks were so unfamiliar to French society that wearing them was too difficult technically and could even be “counterproductive.” Early attempts to legally mandate the wearing of medical face masks were also struck down by administrative courts in France.