Evening Update Tuesday 18 August 2020

The wearing of masks is set to become compulsory in all French businesses and associations, except in individual offices. The measures are expected to come into force on or before 1 September. The announcement was made by Labour Minister Elisabeth Borne. She said that masks will have to be worn in all work spaces that are enclosed and shared, except for individual offices where one person is present. She gave as examples meeting rooms, corridors, changing rooms, shared offices and open plan spaces. The provision of masks will be the responsibility of the employer. She also encouraged employers to promote remote working.

A motorcyclist has died after a crash on the route Napoleon this morning. Reports say that several bikers were travelling in a group when the incident happened near to Saint Vallier de Thiey at about 9am. An investigation has been opened to establish the circumstances of the accident.

A woman in her seventies is in hospital after almost drowning in Menton this morning. Lifeguards initially intervened after the woman was found, apparently in cardiac arrest, in the sea a few metres from the beach. Firefighters continued the resuscitation procedures and took her to the Pasteur 2 hospital in Nice.

Authorities have issued a warning about the danger of fire in the south of France today. The General Directorate of Civil Security and the Prefect of the South Defense and Security Zone say that they recommend great caution for today due to a very high risk of fires on the coasts of Provence and Corsica. The fire hazard is linked to the strengthening of westerly winds over vegetation in "very severe" drought conditions.

Access to the Gorges du Verdon has been closed this afternoon until further notice. The Prefect of the Var said the decision had been taken because of strong winds in the area.

Traffic on the A8 in the Var was affected by smoke from several fires in undergrowth near motorway during this morning's rush hour. Three fires broke out between Les Adrets et Fréjus which were brought under control by firefighters.

Organizers of the Voile d'Antibes have confirmed that the event will be going ahead from 16 September. The event had been rescheduled from June.

An investigation has been opened after a tourist died after falling from the window of a hotel in Avignon yesterday. The man in his twenties had apparently fallen from a second floor window of a hotel in the centre of the town.

 

BUSINESS

High street retailer Marks & Spencer has announced that it will cut about 7,000 jobs over the next three months. The company said that it has begun a consultation process with employees and expects "a significant proportion will be through voluntary departures and early retirement." It said that it expects to create a number of new jobs as it invests in online fulfilment and food warehousing as well as reshaping its store portfolio. It added that there remains "substantial uncertainty about market conditions and the duration of social distancing measures", and said that it's retaining a cautious approach to planning for the remainder of the year.

US retailing giant Walmart has said that sales increased by 9.3% in the quarter to the end of July, compared to the same period last year. The company said that its e-commerce sales had risen by 97%.

Mining, metals and petroleum company BHP has said that it will sell its thermal coal mines within the next two years. However, it will keep its interests in a coking coal joint venture. The decision comes after pressure from shareholders for BHP to become a lower carbon business.

 

SPORT

Football... The first match of the French League 1 season has been postponed because of the coronavirus. Marseille were due to play Saint Etienne this Friday but the match has now been postponed because of four Marseille players testing positive for the virus. The match will be rescheduled for mid-September.

Meanwhile, the Champions League match between Belfast team Linfield FC and Legia Warsaw will go ahead despite a player at the Polish team testing positive for the coronavirus. Kick of is at 7.00 this evening.

Claudio Bravo has left Manchester City after his contract expired. The 37 year old joined City from Barcelona in 2016.

The French Football Federation has said that the team for the UEFA Nations League matches in September will be announced on 27 August. France are due to play Sweden on 5 September and Croatia on September 8.

Cycling.... Dutch rider Fabio Jakobsen has said that he's glad to be alive after a serious crash in the Tour of Poland. In a statement issued today he said that he will undergo multiple surgeries and treatments to treat facial injuries. The rider spent a week in intensive care after the crash two weeks ago.

Cricket... South Africa's womens team won't be playing in England next month because of coronavirus travel restrictions. The team had been scheduled to play two Twenty20s and four one-day internationals.
 

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