Oh là là, I wish I was French. On Sunday night, the president of France, Emmanuel Macron, announced that restaurants and cafes in Paris could fully reopen. "We will rediscover the art of living, our taste for freedom. We will rediscover France," said Mr Macron, rather wonderfully.
Joyful Parisians flooded back to their favourite bistros. Instead of being forced to eat and drink outdoors, at tables on the street, they were allowed inside - at a distance from one another, of course.
Who would have thought, six months ago, that something as simple as entering a cafe and ordering a coffee would feel like an act of glorious social renewal, a triumph over disease, terror and adversity?
Here in Northern Ireland, we have to wait a little longer. The Executive has decided that our restaurants, bars, hotels and cafes can reopen from July 3, as long as virus levels remain low.
Don't expect anything like Mr Macron's Gallic eloquence from Arlene and Michelle, our own two mothers of the nation... well, mammies of the statelet.
We're more likely to be given a flea in our ears about hygiene and not hugging one another, and told to behave ourselves, like good children, or else. But the prospect is hopeful. It's a welcome step towards something resembling normality.
Or at least it would be, if we didn't have the two-metre social distancing problem to contend with. That's what could really foul things up.
In France, as in many other countries, such as Denmark, China and Singapore, people are advised to stay a manageable one metre away from one another. One metre is considered safe, according to the ultra-cautious World Health Organisation. Even our own Executive has just conceded that one metre is "safe and appropriate" for schoolchildren - if not for teachers.
UK Hospitality has estimated that, with the two-metre rule in place, businesses will only be able to achieve 30% of normal revenues. Change that to one metre, and between 60% and 75% of revenues become possible.
Colin Neill, of Hospitality Ulster, says that the difference between two metres and one may be the difference between premises being able to open or having to stay closed - perhaps permanently.
Ah, but isn't the health of workers and customers more important than propping up profits?
That's a spurious, simplistic argument and always has been. This is not about a choice between public health and the economy. Ill health resulting from poverty and unemployment kills people just as surely as coronavirus, in certain cases, can do.
Besides, if dropping down to one metre really did increase the spread of Covid-19, then we would expect the likes of Denmark to be rife with the bug, especially since it was the first country outside of Asia to reduce its restrictions.
Yet at the time of writing, the Danish death toll is 593, and for the last three weeks the number of Covid-related deaths in Denmark has remained between zero and four per day. Whereas the UK, clinging rigidly to its stricter rule, has endured the second highest death rate from Covid in the world.
Professors Carl Heneghan and Tom Jefferson, of the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine at the University of Oxford, say that while the scientific evidence shows that the risk of catching infections is higher indoors than outdoors, "what the evidence cannot say is that there is any measured distance that reduces your risk".
They conclude that "handwashing and encouragement are what we need, not formalised rules. This means trying to keep a distance from each other where possible and avoiding spending time indoors in crowded places".
Being sensible, in other words.
Nobody is arguing for a mass, unbridled descent on pubs and restaurants when they reopen.
Caution is required. The old days of crushing around the bar, waving a tenner in the hope that the barman will see you and serve you, are still a long way off.
We won't be singing and dancing together for a while, more's the pity. Yet there are imaginative suggestions being floated, such as closing streets to traffic at weekends and using pavements or car parks so that restaurants and pubs can put tables outside for customers, to give everyone a bit more room.
Let's start thinking creatively about what we can do, rather than what we can't. Focus on the possibilities, instead of getting bogged down in the impossibilities.
The longest journey starts with a single footstep. If we are to rediscover "the art of living, our taste for freedom" - and we must, if we don't want to spend the rest of our lives stuck at home, like fearful, germ-averse hermits - then we must summon up the courage to take that first step.