Evening Update Thursday 28 May 2020

Cafes, bars and restaurants can open from June 2 across the Riviera and the 100km travel restriction is being cancelled as from the same date.

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe and several of his ministers have this evening announced measures for phase two of deconfinement. The Prime Minister began his address by saying that the news in terms of health is "pretty good" and "we are a little better than what we were hoping" at this point. However, he cautioned that the virus was still present in varying degrees around France. He said that the Ile-de-France, Guyana and Mayott wil be placed in the Orange category but the rest of France is Green.

Cafes, bars and restaurants can open from June 2 in the green zone. Only the terraces can reopen in the orange zone. Tables can accommodate a maximum of 10 people and the distance must be at least one meter between each table. It will be prohibited to consume standing inside establishments open in the green zone.

Tourist accommodation will be able to open in all green departments from June 2. In the orange zone, they can open after June 22.

The 100km travel restriction is being cancelled as of 2 June, so travel will be permissable freely across France but French borders are still closed until 15 June.  

Parks and gardens will be able to reopen this weekend. All museums and monuments can reopen on June 2, as can beaches, lakes and bodies of water but wearing a mask will be mandatory.

Gatherings of more than 10 people are still prohibited until 21 June. Team and contact sports are also forbidden until that date. However, as regards outdoor events, a limit of 5,000 people will be set. Nightclubs and stadiums will remain closed.

Cinemas across France will be able to open from June 22.

The Health Minister Olivier Veran said that there are currently 6.14 positive tests per 100,000 inhabitants and that is one of the indicators being used by the government to measure the epdemic. The second measure is the "positivity rate" of virological tests, which he said is currently 1.9% amongst all tested people. The third factor is the virus's reproduction rate, which is currently less than 1. The fourth indicator is the level of occupation of beds in intensive care. He said that the health authorities have the capacity to screen every person with symptoms and all at risk contacts and people should not hesitate to contact their doctor.

Commenting on the "StopCovid App, Edouard Philippe said that it is not a "magic weapon" but it will allow a more effective fight against the virus. He said the app will be available from 2 June and he invited everyone to use it.

Jean-Michel Blanquer, the Minister of National Education said that 80% of primary schools had reopened. As of June 2, colleges will be able to reopen to students from 6th to 3rd in the green zone. As regards the orange zone, colleges will gradually reopen for the 6th and 5th years. The Minister said that in the green zone, general, technological and vocational high schools will open on "at least one level" . In the orange zone, he said that vocational high schools will open as a priority for students who need certification. He also announced that the oral examination for the French baccalaureate is cancelled and will be validated by continuous testing.

The Prime Minister called on all French citizens to act in the "spirit of responsibility" and asked people to be "sufficiently meticulous and organized" in order to ensure they protect themselves and others. He said that "deconfinement does not mean the end of caution".
 

In other news, new data shows that there were just over six million unemployed people in France in April, which is the highest figure since comparable records began. The number of unemployed in Category A, which covers people who have no job but are actively looking for work, rose by 22.6% in April. About three-quarters of that increase was attributable to people who had previously been in Category B or C. Category B covers people who are partially employed but looking for more work and Category C are those job seekers who have had reduced hours longer term.

Air France KLM have announced the resumption of flights to Italy from 1 June. The cities served will initially be  Rome, Milan, Venice, Bologna, Florence, Naples and Bari.

The Minister of Ecological Transition, Elisabeth Borne, has announced today that the fund dedicated to encouraging people to use bicycles will be tripled from 20 million euros to 60 million. Amongst other measures, it enables bicycle owners to obtain 50 euros for the repair of a bicycle at approved repairers. Locally, a petition launched against new cycling paths in Nice has received more than 3,000 signatures. The city of Nice installed the new paths during the lockdown, notably on the Quai des Etats Unis and around the port area. The move has caused concern over congestion and the need to take alternative routes to avoid the cycle lanes.

As at early this evening, Meteo France have a Yellow weather alert in place for storms in the Alpes Maritimes and the Var until 9pm this evening and also tomorrow - in both departments from 11am to at least 3pm and also in the Alpes Maritimes from 1am to 6am.
 

 

BUSINESS

2.1 million people applied for jobless benefits for the first time in the United States last week, according to Labor Department figures released this afternoon. The new numbers take the total number of benefit claimants to over 40 million since the beginning of the pandemic.

EasyJet has announced plans to cut up to 30% of its workforce. The airline didn't specify the number of jobs that would go, but it employed 15,000 people at the start of this year, meaning up to about 4,500 jobs could be lost. Pilots' union Balpa described the move as an "ill-considered knee-jerk reaction". The company said that levels of market demand seen in 2019 were not likely to be reached again until 2023. The airline added that it expects to be flying at about 30% of its capacity in the fourth quarter.

Nissan have announced the closure of the company's plant in Barcelona as part of a global reorganisation announced today. Nissan said that it intended to keep its Sunderland factory and to re-start production there in June. Nissan also announced a loss of 6.2 billion dollars for the last financial year.

Economic sentiment in the EU has improved in the month of May, according to a survey by the European Commission. The Commission's indicator recorded a figure of 67.5, which is a slight increase from the April figure of 63.8. However, the indicator stood at 102.5 as recently as January this year. The survey takes into account responses from 135,000 businesses and 32,000 consumers in the EU.

 

SPORT

The 2020 Dutch Grand Prix has been cancelled. The race was originally scheduled to take place on May 3. It would have been the first time since 1985 that the Dutch Grand Prix had taken place. Sports director Jan Lammers asked fans to be patient and said "I had to look forward to it for 35 years, so I can wait another year."

Rugby League...Live sport has resumed in Australia for the first time since lockdown. Parramatta have beaten Brisbane by 34 to 6.

Football.. The English Football League has said that it has tested 1,030 players and club staff for coronavirus over the last three days. Three individuals have tested positive from two clubs. Reports say that two Fulham players and one Blackburn player have tested positive. They will now isolate for a period of seven days in line with EFL and government guidelines.

In Belgian football news, Club Bruges will meet Royal Antwerp in the domestic cup final on 1 August. It was originally due to take place on 22 March. The match will be held behind closed doors at a stadium in Brussels. The rest of the season in Belgium has already been cancelled.

Cycling... Great Britain's cycling team have resumed training. Twelve riders took part individual training this week at the velodrome in Manchester. Participants were subject to health checks and had to follow one-way systems amongst other measures.

 

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