French and Riviera News Friday 29th May 2020

Lifting of lockdown measures in France - France’s Prime Minister Édouard Philippe, has cautiously lifted most of the lockdown measures put in place due to Covid-19. During his address on Thursday, the Prime Minister declared that the 2nd phase of easing the lockdown would see beaches, parks and lakes open to all from June 2nd. The virus map was updated with all red zones disappearing and Ile de France, La Guyane and Mayotte changing to orange. The rest of France was classified as green.

Bars and restaurants will return to normal in the green zones, while in the orange zones, terraces, or outdoor seating, will open. No more than 10 people can sit per table in restaurants, and the tables must be at least 1 metre apart. There will be a gradual reopening of tourist accommodation, like campsites on June 2nd in all departments except those in the orange zone. The latter will have to wait for the third phase of deconfinement, on June 22nd. In green zones gyms will reopen as of June 2nd, but those in the orange zones will remain closed until June 21st. Cinemas will be open to all on June 22nd. Stadiums, sporting events, discotheques will remain closed until at least June 21st, according to the prime minister.

Holidays outside of France will only be possible following a decision from the European Union after June but the travel limit of 100 km will be lifted as of this weekend. The borders are currently closed outside of Europe. As of June 2nd, all schools will be open, however the oral exam in French for the Baccalaureate is cancelled for 2020. The Prime Minister said the results are good regarding the health plan… Good, but not sufficiently good for everything to return to normal". He called for everyone to remain alert.

Masks – With the easing of lockdown masks are still strongly advised in many circumstances. Companies are invited to equip their employees. Wearing a mask on public transport remains compulsory and is preferable in shops, which have the right to refuse customers who are without a mask.

Regional coronavirus cases - Meanwhile the health situation in the region saw Covid-19 claim two lives in the last 24 hours, one in the Alpes Maritimes and one in the Var. Since the start of the health crisis, coronavirus has claimed 471 lives in the two departments. 112 patients are still hospitalized in the Alpes-Maritimes, due to Covid-19 and 9 people are still in the intensive care units. As of Thursday, May 28th, no positive cases for Covid-19 have been revealed.

Monaco - In Monaco on Thursday no new cases of the virus were reported with the number of cases in the Principality remaining at 98. 90 people have recovered from Covid-19 and one person remains in intensive care suffering from the virus. To date, 1 patient is being cared for by the Home Monitoring Center. Meanwhile following the news last week that a maths teacher in Monaco had tested positive all 29 pupils considered possible contact cases, have been tested. Results showed they were all negative.

Monaco is set to reopen restaurants, bars and casinos from June 2nd - The Monte-Carlo Société des Bains de Mer will mark the occasion with the inauguration of the new Place Casino, and the reopening of the Café de Paris brasserie. The establishments of the Monte-Carlo Société des Bains de Mer Group which are to gradually reopen from June 2nd:

Tuesday June 2nd - The Café de Paris Monte-Carlo brasserie and its new terrace. Inauguration of the new Place du Casino.

Wednesday June 3rd - Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort: L’Orange Verte, Blue Gin, Cinq Mondes spa (except sauna and hammam) and the shop. The reopening of the Blue Bay restaurant should be announced by the end of June. The reopening of the swimming pool, lagoon, fitness and sea access, will depend on obtaining the authorization issued by the competent authorities. Note that the hotel, which has been open continuously since March 15, offers a room service breakfast service.

Friday June 5th - Casino de Monte-Carlo - reopening of game rooms, terraces and Le Salon Rose restaurant. The Casino Café de Paris - lounges and terrace.

Friday June 12th - The Grill and the American Bar at the Hotel de Paris Monte-Carlo. The hotel, which has been open since March 15, offers a room service breakfast service. Monte-Carlo Beach Club, subject to obtaining the authorization issued by the competent authorities.

Tuesday June 16th - The Buddha Bar Monte-Carlo

Wednesday June 24th  - Coya Monte-Carlo

Friday July 3rd (date to be confirmed) - Monte-Carlo Beach hotel

Wednesday July 8th (date to be confirmed) - Hotel Hermitage Monte-Carlo (hotel & room service)

These dates may be subject to change depending on the evolution of the situation.

Nice Côte d’Azur Airport - Nice Côte d´Azur airport has announced a gradual resumption of air traffic with a minimum of 19 destinations from June. The airport will offer from the beginning of June several dozen connections to the main cities of France and European capitals. This gradual upturn in air traffic should be amplified in July and then in August, depending on the lifting of restrictions which could be announced in the coming weeks. Measures have been put in place to guarantee a very high level of health security, with increased measures in terms of air and surface disinfection, flow management as well as terminal ventilation. To date, not all airlines have finalized their flight programme, but the first trend is already making it possible to draw a tight network with the main French and European destinations.

For France, at least 10 cities will be linked to the Côte d'Azur:

• Paris Charles-de-Gaulle (Air France, easyJet);

• Lyon (Air France);

• Lille (easyJet);

• Toulouse (easyJet);

• Nantes (easyJet, Volotea);

• Bordeaux (easyJet);

• Bastia, Ajaccio, Figari and Calvi (Air Corsica).

For Europe, 9 cities will again be connected to the Côte d'Azur:

• London (British Airways and easyJet);

• Frankfurt (Lufthansa);

• Brussels (Brussels Airlines);

• Geneva and Zurich (easyJet, Swiss)

• Vienna, Sofia, Budapest and Krakow (Wizz Air).

All of the flights currently announced by the airlines remain subject to possible adjustments to the traffic restrictions. Travellers are advised to check with their companies to ensure that their flights are maintained.

Nice Côte d'Azur Airport is the second airport in France after Paris with 14.5 million passengers in 2019, 120 direct destinations and 57 regular airlines serving 44 countries. Outside Paris, it is also the only French airport to offer 6 long-haul destinations on scheduled flights (Bahrain, Dubai, Doha, New York, Montreal and Beijing). The Aéroports de la Côte d'Azur Group manages the Nice Côte d´Azur Airport, the second airport hub in France, Cannes Mandelieu and the Gulf of Saint-Tropez airports. It is number 2 in Europe in terms of business aviation. The regular helicopter connection between Nice and Monaco is also the most important in the world in terms of traffic.

Local Elections - On June 28th, voters in 32 of the 163 municipalities that make up the Alpes-Maritimes department will be called to the polls to designate their mayor. While in Nice, mayor Christian Estrosi, seems on the right track following results in the first round held just before the lockdown, in Menton, the race may be tighter between Olivier Bettati, of the National Rally who finds himself just 15 points behind the outgoing Les Republicans, Jean-Claude Guibal.

Tick-borne encephalitis - In other news, an outbreak of tick-borne encephalitis has been detected in the Auvergne-Rhone- Alpes. The Prefecture of Ain issued an alert on Thursday after an outbreak of cases were confirmed affecting 26 inhabitants in the region. 26 inhabitants were reportedly affected by the viral infectious disease. The transmission of the viral infectious disease is thought to have originated from raw milk and goats’ cheese from a farm in the region.

Business

Asian Markets have pulled back this morning and there’s been little movement on foreign exchanges as investors wait for a response from the United States over China’s move to tighten state controls on Hong Kong. On Thursday, the Chinese parliament pressed ahead with the introduction of national security legislation for Hong Kong, raising concerns over the future of its democratic freedoms and its role as an international financial hub. President Trump has pledged a tough response and is to hold a news conference later today. Investors are concerned about a further deterioration in US-Chinese relations which sent stocks lower. Possible US responses to the Chinese move include scrapping the Phase 1 trade deal and imposing new tariffs. There could also be some financial and travel penalties. Earlier this morning, the government in Hong Kong warned the United States that the withdrawal of its “special status” could be a double edged sword and urged President Trump to stop interfering in internal affairs.

The French carmaker Renault is preparing to make 15,000 job cuts as it struggles with the impact of the coronavirus. Renault has pledged to cut costs by 2 billion euros and is expected to discuss its job-cutting plan today. Around a third of the job cuts are expected to come in France with many made through voluntary layoffs or early retirement. Renault employs some 179,000 people around the world and has a 4 percent global market share. The firm was in trouble before the pandemic struck with sales down 3 percent last year and vehicle sales down by 25 percent in the first three months of this year. The firm is currently in talks with the French government which still owns 15 percent of its stock over a 5 billion euro aid package.

Nissan says that it will keep its Sunderland plant in England but will close its operations in Barcelona. The news resulted in angry protests at the firm’s Spanish plant with workers burning tyres and blocking access to the factory. Some 2,800 jobs will go when the plant closes in December. There was jubilation in Sunderland when workers heard that the plant would remain open. However, it appears that Nissan will only use the Sunderland plant to supply the UK domestic market while Europe will be supplied with vehicles produced in Japan which are now exempt from tariffs as a result of the free trade deal struck between the European Union and Japan.

Sport

Football - The English Premier League will resume on the 17th of June with Aston Villa against Sheffield United and Manchester City against Arsenal. The two fixtures are the outstanding matches from the previous round and will be followed by a full programme over the weekend of the 19th of June. Matches will be played behind closed doors with 92 left to complete the season. The BBC will air 4 live matches for the first time since the Premier League’s inception while Sky Sports will show 64 games and will make 25 available free-to-air. BT Sport and Amazon Prime will show the remaining games.

Formula 1 - The 2020 Dutch Grand Prix has been cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic. Organisers had been hoping to reschedule the race which had been due to take place on the 3rd May but that hasn’t been possible. Formula 1 is still trying to agree on a revised schedule for 2020.

Cricket - There will be no domestic cricket played in England until at least the 1st August. Options for a revised schedule will be discussed early next month. England’s Test and one day programme may still be able to go ahead with West Indies due to start a three Test series on the 8th July behind closed doors.

Weather

Sunshine and occasional showers this morning, some more prolonged showers this afternoon. Moderate easterly winds and a high of 22 degrees. Overnight lows of 15 degrees on the coast and 12 degrees inland with clear skies.

The weekend - Mainly fine in coastal areas, some showers inland. Highs of 21-23 degrees.

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