Evening Update Wednesday 8 April 2020

The Mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, has given a press conference early this evening in which he gave more details of the mandatory wearing of masks in Nice. He said that the wearing of a mask will become compulsory for everyone from 3 years old on the date of deconfinement decided by the government. To get a mask, you will need to register on a dedicated platform. He said that the method of distribution would be specified soon and indicated that there would be a meeting point in each district for collection of masks but home deliveries would be made to isolated people. Masks will be of a type which is washable up to ten times. He said that once the distribution had been completed, a municipal decree would be passed to prohibit going out without a mask. He said that 800,000 masks had been ordered and the first deliveries are expected on Friday the 17th of April. All municipalities in the Metropolitain area will have masks for distribution.

In other news, it's been announced this evening that another major event in our region is being postponed. The seventeenth edition of the Top Marques supercar show in Monaco is being postponed from this June to the period  from June 9 to 13, 2021 .

Representatives of the French tourism industry have written to the government to call for the tourism sector to be declared a "state of natural disaster". The move follows severe falls in revenue because of the pandemic.  The letter was sent to Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, Secretary of State to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, who yesterday gave details of the large falls in tourism revenue being experienced in France, including on the Riviera.

Meanwhile, the Banque de France has estimated that the French economy shrunk by 6% during the first quarter of this year. It's the biggest quarterly contraction in the economy since the Second World War. The bank estimated that economic activity declined by 17% in the month of March alone.

The City of Cannes has today started the introduction of laser thermometers at certain businesses. The initiative was announced last month by the Mayor, David Lisnard. The thermometers take the temperature of shoppers entering a shop and if it is too high they are barred from entry and given advice on contacting a doctor. As far as the businesses are concerned, participation in the scheme is voluntary and the cost of the equipment is met by the City.

The City of Nice has made an online list available of merchants in  Nice who are delivering food or are currently open for business. The page also has a map showing the location of businesses. You can find it at https://www.nice.fr/fr/actualites/annuaire-en-ligne-livraison-a-domicile?type=articles

Chemicals company INEOS has announced that a fourth of its factories in France will be given over to the production of hand sanitising gel. The factory is in the town of Etain in the north-east of France and will be producing gel for hospitals in Paris and the north-east as well as Belgium.

A man and his son have appeared in court for assaulting police officers in Le Cannet on Sunday afternoon. Police escorted the two men back to their homes after breaking up a football match taking place in breach of confinement regulations. The man assaulted an officer and he and his son then spat on officers. The man received a 6 month prison sentence and his son received a suspended sentence of 6 months and 120 hours of community service.

A 77 year old man was trapped under his tractor as he tried to turn it around near Grasse this morning. The tractor fell into a stream near the Chemin du Pont de Nice. According to reports, he was still conscious as rescue services intervened and took him to hospital in Nice.

 

BUSINESS

A marathon 14 hour meeting of EU finance ministers has ended without agreeing on the issue of so-called coronabonds or the use of the EU's bail out fund. Italy wants the EU to issue bonds to aid economic recovery from the crisis but the Netherlands is resisting debt sharing at an EU level.

Joint research by several German economic institutes suggests that the German economy may contract by 9.8% in the second quarter of this year, which would be the largest fall since records began in 1970. The institutes estimated that GDP in Germany may fall by 4.2% this year but grow by 5.8% next year.

UK supermarket group Tesco has defended its decision to make a dividend payment of 635 million pounds as its final dividend for the year to the end of February. Many UK banks and insurance companies have recently scrapped their dividend payouts under pressure from the Bank of England to conserve cash during the crisis. Tesco said the needs of savers and pension funds had to be taken into consideration and it hadn't taken government help except help with business rates. It also pointed out that it will have to meet additional costs of up to 925 million pounds in relation to the coronavirus crisis.

Research suggests that the UK's job retention scheme may cost much more than envisaged due to higher than expected take up of the scheme. The Resolution Foundation used figures from the British Chambers of Commerce to calculate that the scheme may cost £30-40bn over three months, which is about three times the size of initial government estimates.


SPORT

Athletics... Organisers of the 2022 World Athletics Championships have agreed to stage the event three weeks earlier than planned to avoid a clash with the Birmingham Commonwealth Games. The championships, in Eugene, Oregon, had already been pushed back a year because of the coronavirus pandemic. Athletics' governing body has now moved the event to 15-24 July 2022.

Cricket... Ben Stokes has been named Wisden's leading cricketer in the world. Stokes played a key role in England's World Cup victory in July and was named man of the match in the final. He also scored 135 not out to lead England to victory over Australia in the third Ashes Test at Headingley.

Football.. FIFA have confirmed that the summer transfer window will be moved and contracts ending on 30 June will be extended for a short period under proposals agreed by all football's major stakeholders. Those contracts will be extended to whenever the season ends.

Tottenham have spoken to their players after some appear to have breached coronavirus social-distancing guidelines. Jose Mourinho was pictured leading a training session with several players. Two other players were videoed running together in a park in London. Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said the players and Mourinho should be leading by example.

Horse Racing... In the UK, the first four Classics of the season have been postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic. They include the Epsom Derby, the Guineas meeting at Newmarket, and the Derby meeting in June, which includes the Oaks. Meanwhile, organisers of Royal Ascot say the meeting will not "take place as an event open to the public" and may be run behind closed doors.

Cycling... British Cycling have put 90 of their staff on temporary leave. The organization's CEO Julia Harrington is also taking a 10% pay cut for the months of May and June.

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