French Police Fine Three People for Bathing in a Pond With Giant Inflatable Unicorn During COVID-19 Quarantine

French police have fined three people who were found skirting the nationwide lockdown and bathing in a pond, along with two inflatable mattresses and a giant unicorn inflatable.

Members of the Gendarmerie discovered the trio, originally from Paris, in the state forest of La Neuville-en-Hez, in Oise, on Monday.

According to a statement shared on social media, the bathers said they were staying in a second home in Oise, a department in northern France, immediately north of Paris. The trio claimed to have been living there since the start of the lockdown.

"Saying they have a second home in the area and have been present in the Oise since the start of confinement, they justified swimming and their presence in the forest as their daily sporting activity," the Gendarmerie de l'Oise said in a statement on Facebook.

[NON RESPECT CONFINEMENT – COVID-19]Le 27 avril, dans l'après-midi, à l'Étang de la Garde, dans la forêt domaniale de...

Posted by Gendarmerie de l'Oise on Tuesday, April 28, 2020

According to the Gendarmerie de l'Oise, the three Parisians had broken not one, but three separate rules. The first was taking part in an activity prohibited by the lockdown; the second, entering the state forest, which is forbidden to all by a prefecture order; and third, swimming in the pond, which is banned at all times.

According to local news, the Parisians were fined €135 ($145) each for defying the lockdown.

"Sanctioned, the criminals left the scene on board their vehicle with an atypical traveler on the roof: the giant unicorn!" the Gendarmerie de l'Oise said.

Inflatable colorful white unicorn at the swimming pool.
Stock image of an inflatable colorful white unicorn at the swimming pool. Three Parisians were fined after they were found flouting lockdown and bathing with an inflatable unicorn. KleverLeveL/iStock

France has been on lockdown since March 17 in an attempt to limit the spread of COVID-19. According to the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 dashboard, there have been more than 169,000 cases and in excess than 23,600 deaths related to COVID-19 confirmed in France since the outbreak began.

After more than a month in confinement, the government has begun to ease restrictions and announced plans to return to normality.

Certain measures, including a phased reopening of schools and allowances for limited traveling, are expected to come into force from May 11. But ministers have warned people will have to learn to live with the virus and abide by certain protocols, such as compulsory mask-wearing and social distancing. Though socializing is permitted, gatherings will be restricted to 10 people or fewer and companies are asked to allow people to work from home wherever possible. Bars, restaurants and cafes are to remain shut.

The below graph from Statista shows the U.S. states with the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases.

coronavirus U.S. states
U.S. states with most COVID-19 cases. Statista

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Advice on Using Face Coverings to Slow Spread of COVID-19

  • CDC recommends wearing a cloth face covering in public where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
  • A simple cloth face covering can help slow the spread of the virus by those infected and by those who do not exhibit symptoms.
  • Cloth face coverings can be fashioned from household items. Guides are offered by the CDC. (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html)
  • Cloth face coverings should be washed regularly. A washing machine will suffice.
  • Practice safe removal of face coverings by not touching eyes, nose, and mouth, and wash hands immediately after removing the covering.

World Health Organization advice for avoiding spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

Hygiene advice

  • Clean hands frequently with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Wash hands after coughing or sneezing; when caring for the sick; before, during and after food preparation; before eating; after using the toilet; when hands are visibly dirty; and after handling animals or waste.
  • Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your hands, nose and mouth. Do not spit in public.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing. Discard the tissue immediately and clean your hands.

Medical advice

  • Avoid close contact with others if you have any symptoms.
  • Stay at home if you feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and runny nose, to avoid potential spread of the disease to medical facilities and other people.
  • If you develop serious symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) seek medical care early and contact local health authorities in advance.
  • Note any recent contact with others and travel details to provide to authorities who can trace and prevent spread of the disease.
  • Stay up to date on COVID-19 developments issued by health authorities and follow their guidance.

Mask and glove usage

  • Healthy individuals only need to wear a mask if taking care of a sick person.
  • Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
  • Masks are effective when used in combination with frequent hand cleaning.
  • Do not touch the mask while wearing it. Clean hands if you touch the mask.
  • Learn how to properly put on, remove and dispose of masks. Clean hands after disposing of the mask.
  • Do not reuse single-use masks.
  • Regularly washing bare hands is more effective against catching COVID-19 than wearing rubber gloves.
  • The COVID-19 virus can still be picked up on rubber gloves and transmitted by touching your face.