Evening Update Wednesday 6 May 2020

The Mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi has unveiled details of a new transport plan for the city from May 11.  Boulevard Gambetta will be open to buses and bicycles only, from Avenue Thiers to the Promenade des Anglais. The fequency of buses and trams throughout the city will be increased from the 11th. The method of getting on and off trams will be changed, with access via the middle door only, with the doors at each end being reserved for exit only. Bus stops will have markings in place to show physical separation distances. The mayor also announced significant help for bicycle riders and those considering buying a bike. Aid of 100 euros will be given to those buying a mechanical bicycle. 200 euros of aid will be given to those earning up to 2,500 euros per month who purchase an electric bicycle. A significant number of bicycle lanes and paths will also be created in Nice over the coming weeks.

The Mayor of Cannes, David Lisnard, has said that schools will be open from the large kindergarten section to CM2 inclusive from May 12. He asked families who could educate their children at home to do so as a "civic act". Meanwhile, the Mayors of Saint-Raphael and Draguignan have said that they plan to re-open their schools on May 18. The mayor of Saint-Raphael, Frederic Masquelier, said that the extra time would make it possible to observe the steps taken in other municipalities.

It's been announced this afternoon that four people have lost their lives to Covid-19 in the Alpes Maritimes in the past day and three people in the Var. The number of people being treated for Covid-19 in intensive care has fallen, with twenty one cases in the Alpes Maritimes and twenty nine in the Var.

President Emmanuel Macron has been holding a tele-conference with representatives of the creative industries today. He announced that he wanted to extend, by 12 months, the rights of casual workers in the sector to unemployment insurance "until August 2021." He said that museums, art galleries and bookstores must be able to reopen on May 11. He also confirmed that there will not be any "big events" held this summer.

La Poste has said that as from May 11 it will carry out 6 deliveries per week and it's aiming to have all post offices open by the end of May. However, it said that several thousand letters remain blocked in the system since the beginning of confinement but they are gradually being deleivered. La Poste also revealed a new scheme allowing isolated and infirm people to send a letter by handing it to the employee delivering their post, thereby removing the need to visit a post office.

The SNCF has announced several safety measures aimed at protecting travellers from 11 May. Wearing a mask will be compulsory on public transport. Users who do not respect this will risk a fine. Train users will have to bring their own mask as the SNCF will not be providing them. Sanitising gel dispensers will be installed in 165 stations and all trains will be cleaned and disinfected at least once a day. The SNCF is also preparing a transport plan which will be announced at the end of this week. Train passengers will be able to know how crowded their train is expected to be the day before their journey by using the SNCF app.

In other news, Christian Estrosi has condemned an act of vandalism at a cemetery in the east of Nice. About one dozen wooden crosses on graves at the cemetery were vandalised.

New research has confirmed that many of us have put on a few extra kilos during confinement. According to the survey carried out in France in late April, 57% of people have gained weight, with an average amount of 2.5kg per person.


BUSINESS

A new forecast from the European Union published today says that the EU faces what it calls "a deep and uneven recession". It says that EU GDP may fall by 7.5% this year and grow by 6.1% next year. However, it cautioned that those forecasts were one of several possible scenarios and that the danger of a deeper and more drawn out recession is "very real". It said that the French economy is likely to contract by 8.2% this year before rebounding by 7.4% next year.

New figures released this afternoon show that over 20 million Americans lost their jobs from March to April. The closely watched announcement from payroll processing company ADP says that 20,236,000 jobs were lost but the company added that the full impact of the pandemic wasn't reflected in the figures because it only shows data up to April 12.

UK online grocery business Ocado has said that its retail sales increased by 40% in the company's second quarter. It said that "more normal" shopping habits have returned after a large spike in demand because of the coronavirus outbreak. It said that the balance between fresh and long-life food has been returning to normal. However, the company said that it had suspended its financial year forecast because of uncertainty about the length of the lockdown in the UK and likely customer behaviour.

New data released today by the European Unon's statistics agency Eurostat shows that retail sales volume in the Eurozone fell by 11.2% in March. It's the largest monthly contraction since records began. The contraction in France was one of the largest in the Eurozone, with a fall of 17% in the month.

UK media company ITV has reported a fall in advertising revenue of 42% in the month of April. It said that the outlook remains uncertain and is "changing rapidly" and was therefore not providing a financial forecast for the second quarter or the remainder of this year.

 

SPORT

Football.. The League Managers Association has said that the Premier League season could be cancelled if clubs don't agree to play in neutral venues. A vote is due to take place on Monday on proposals for matches to resume. It's reported that Brighton, Aston Villa and West Ham are amongst the clubs who are opposed the idea of neutral venues. The Premier League's "Project Restart" currently envisages matches restarting in June in order to complete the season at the end of July. Premier League clubs have said that the season will resume "when safe and appropriate to do so". Meanwhile, the chief executive of League 1 side Coventry City, Dave Boddy, has said that restarting the season is looking "very unlikely". Speaking to the BBC he said that the situation should be dealt with in the same way "as other countries". He said that "France have produced final tables based on final points per game, Scotland have done something similar."

Paris Saint-Germain are donating 100,000 euros to the charity Action Contre La Faim to help provide staff and volunteers with personal protective equipment. The organization has been using the club's Parc des Princes stadium to make, assemble and store hygiene kits and health equipment for those most at risk.

Cricket... The MCC has told its members that it has taken what it calls a “hard decision” not to refund any of their subscriptions this year, even though the prospect of them watching cricket at Lords “looks increasingly remote”. It said that the annual fees were the bedrock of the club’s finances and “critical to ensuring we weather the current storm.”

Tennis... A Player Relief programme to support tennis players affected by the coronavirus outbreak has been set up by several of the sport's governing bodies. Reports say the fund has already reached over six million dollars. The programme has been set up by the Men's ATP, the Women's Tennis Association, the International Tennis Federation, the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open.

 

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