France’s Macron makes mask-wearing an act of national pride

France’s Macron makes mask-wearing an act of national pride

PARIS — With a face mask 100% made in France, President Emmanuel Macron showed the famously fashionable French people Tuesday that civic responsibility and style are not mutually exclusive.

Macron used a visit to a primary school to promote the type of cloth masks that will be de rigueur on public transportation and other locations when France starts emerging from its coronavirus lockdown next week.

The dark blue version Macron wore while visiting the school west of Paris complemented his tie and blue suit, and came embellished on one side with ribbon detail in red, white and blue, the colours of the French flag.

The French presidency said the mask, designed specifically to protect the public from the virus, was produced by knitwear manufacturer Chanteclair and retails for 4.92 euros ($5.34.) The French military tested the garment’s breathability and effectiveness in filtering out small particles, the presidency said.

While some world leaders have been worried about the optics of being seen while masked, Macron previously appeared at public events in surgical masks, both thin ones and heavier strength models.

At the primary school, a child asked “Who is it?” when the president entered a classroom. Macron briefly lifted his cloth mask to reveal his face, then pulled the covering back into place.

He later joked about needing to use hand sanitizer because he touched the mask, which he was not supposed to do.

Macron’s government has been widely criticized for having an inconsistent policy on the civilian use of face masks during the coronavirus pandemic. When the virus first reached Europe, industrial grade masks were requisitioned by the French state and aimed at health workers only.

The government later pushed for homemade cloth masks to be used as alternatives amid a shortage of commercially made medical masks.

Paper and cloth masks, including the model Macron and Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer debuted on Tuesday, went on sale at French supermarkets this week in anticipation of widespread use starting May 11.

The president’s accessory, as well as his handling of it, succeeded in attracting attention on social media. A photo taken of the French leader when he had the mask pulled down below his nose prompted one observer to note that despite being “rather stylish,” the covering made a poor barrier to infection if nostrils were exposed.

Other commentators tweeted that Macron looked like a villain or the Sub-Zero character in the “Mortal Kombat ”video games.

Images of Slovakian President Zuzana Caputova wearing a crushed raspberry pink mask matching her outfit to the new prime minister’s swearing-in ceremony in March went viral on Twitter.

In Germany, the governor of Bavaria, Markus Soeder, wore a mask in the blue and white lozenge-print of the state flag to several public appearances.

Sylvie Corbet, The Associated Press

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta reports just seven new COVID-19 cases

‘Today’s numbers mark an occasion to be celebrated’

PHOTOS: Sylvan Lake grads celebrate amidst pandemic

A group of local businesses band together to throw two days worth of celebrations for the graduates

Sylvan Lake RCMP continue to search for missing man

43-year-old Steven Michael Hull is still missing and Sylvan Lake RCMP are seeking public assistance

Poplar Ridge School receives county funding for new playground equipment

Two new gaga ball pits and a resurfaced basketball court will be going in at Poplar Ridge School

Visitor pay parking returns to Sylvan Lake

Visitor pay parking areas in the downtown and lakeshore areas is once again in effect

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

Sylvan Lake News is firmly committed to seeing you through the changes ahead, but we need your help

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

Sylvan Lake News is firmly committed to seeing you through the changes ahead, but we need your help

Montreal man believes rough arrest caught on video was racially motivated

Montreal man believes rough arrest caught on video was racially motivated

N.B. police shooting of Indigenous woman leads to questions on ‘wellness checks’

N.B. police shooting of Indigenous woman leads to questions on ‘wellness checks’

Minister says reckoning on police violence against Indigenous people needed

Minister says reckoning on police violence against Indigenous people needed

Nunavut to bring in civilian police review after arrest video: minister

Nunavut to bring in civilian police review after arrest video: minister

Trudeau takes a knee at anti-racism protest on Parliament Hill

Trudeau takes a knee at anti-racism protest on Parliament Hill

Liberal MP Marwan Tabbara faces assault, break and enter, harassment charges

Liberal MP Marwan Tabbara faces assault, break and enter, harassment charges

Black Canadians say racism here is just as harmful as in the United States

Black Canadians say racism here is just as harmful as in the United States

Most Read