France has reported 534 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 18 new deaths from the virus, hours after ministers urged people to start wearing masks in enclosed public places to prevent a new flare-up of the epidemic.
According to health ministry data on Thursday, the total death toll since the outbreak started reached 30,138 and the number of confirmed cases was 173,838.
The number of people in hospital was 6796, down 119 over the previous 24 hours, and the number of those in intensive care was 481, one fewer than a day earlier.
President Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday that mask-wearing would be mandatory in places such as shops from August 1, citing signs that the coronavirus was "coming back a bit".
But on Thursday Prime Minister Jean Castex said the order would take effect next week.
Until now, it has been mandatory to wear face coverings only on public transport and in public spaces where social distancing is not possible.
"We were considering implementing (this measure) on August 1," Castex told the Senate.
"I have heard and understood that this deadline appeared late or raised some questions, so the decree will come into force next week."
Health Minister Olivier Veran, speaking in the lower house of parliament, encouraged people to start wearing masks now, without waiting for the decree, calling wearing masks a matter of social responsibility.