Schools reopened in France this week. It was the first step toward lifting a third lockdown that will bring epidemiological risks as well as ratchet up political pressure on President Emmanuel Macron, who’s fighting for re-election next year.

Macron’s entourage refuses to call the gradual reopening a "gamble,” even if that’s what it feels like with hospitals still under pressure. After dithering for months over whether to lock down again, the government is reluctant to get people’s hopes up too high that outdoor bar and restaurant service can start up in May.

If that isn’t possible, it will become painfully clear just how slow France’s vaccine campaign was initially, while severely testing public acceptance of the web of restrictions that have been imposed, from outdoor mask-wearing to curfews.