French and Riviera News Monday 11th May 2020

Lockdown lifted - After 55 days of lockdown France today, will begin a progressive end to the lockdown. Those unable to return to work will continue to work from home, employers are obliged to have put in place the necessary health measures to make sure no employees are putting themselves at risk.

France has adopted a colour coded map to classify each region, red regions are the worst hit by the coronavirus.

While nursery school children will be welcomed back for those parents that wish to send them in “green” regions along with the reopening of parks. The four regions which remain red in France will have to wait before parks and schools are reopened.

The attestation to circulate will no longer be required. Shops and shopping centres are to reopen respecting social distancing and the 100km restriction will be put in place over the next couple of days.

Masks are strongly advised and will be compulsory in many shops and supermarkets as well as on public transport. Those working in the Paris region will be required to have an attestation from their employer in order to access public transport.

The decision by the Mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi to make wearing a mask when outside, obligatory between 8am and 8pm, has been challenged by the league for human rights on Sunday. The municipal decree dated May 7th states that people over the age of 11 are liable to a fine of 35 euros.

Train service - Meanwhile the SNCF has announced that three out of four trains will be running on the Provence Alpes Côte d'Azur network during peak hours.

Restricted to 15% of normal traffic during lockdown, regional train traffic is expected to reach the rate of three out of four trains during rush hour, and one train out of two on average across the network.

SNCF ensures that all the trains will be disinfected at least once a day that specific signage has been put in place at the station and on board the trains, and that only large capacity trains will circulate, all in order to allow reasonable distances between each passenger to be respected.

Passengers are able to consult train timetables on the SNCF website or on the mobile application.

The running capacity will be gradually increased: from May 25th.

Coronavirus cases – There was one new case of coronavirus reported in the Principality at the weekend. The number of cases stands at 96 with 82 people having recovered, and 1 person remains in intensive care at the Princess Grace Hospital.

Official figures have reported that in the Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur region the coronavirus has claimed 773 since 28th February. 

Meanwhile France’s, Ministry of Health confirmed on Sunday evening that 70 people have died from Covid-19 in the last 24 hours, the lowest number since the start of lockdown.

This brings the number of deaths in France from Covid-19 since March 1st to 26,830. 16,642 were in hospitals and 9,738 nursing homes.

Wild boar on the Croisette - The city of Cannes had an unexpected visitor at the weekend after a wild boar ventured onto the Croisette in the early hours of Sunday morning. Local police were deployed to catch the unlikely visitor which eventually fled. The scene was caught on camera and soon circulated on social media.

Two buoys - Two men from Hyeres in the Var have apologised to police and paid a 135 euro fine for breaking lockdown rules on their local beach by disguising themselves as buoys.

The pair said to local reporters that "they just wanted to make people laugh in these difficult times and not offend anyone. They were happy to pay the fine".

Orly airport - The Secretary of State for Transport, Jean-Baptiste Djebbari, has said that Orly airport could reopen on June 26th if the health situation improves.

Nine airlines based at the airport in the south of the Paris region have asked the state to set Friday June 26th as the date for the airport's reopening.

Roland Garros - The president of the French Tennis Federation (FTF) has said that the French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros could be held without fans later this year .

The tournament was initially planned to be held from May 24-June 7th but was postponed amid the coronavirus pandemic and rescheduled for Sept. 20-Oct. 4.

Speaking on Sunday Bernard Giudicelli said that organizers are considering the prospect that it might need to go ahead without fans present. It could even start one week later.

The FTF is refunding all tickets purchased for the original dates of Roland Garros by the end of May, and a new ticketing procedure will be opened if it goes ahead.

Business

The Trump administration has started informal talks with Republicans and Democrats in Congress about what should be included in another round of coronavirus relief legislation.

Officials in the administration including the Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and the White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow have said that they’re holding discussions with lawmakers in issues including aid for states whose finances have been hit by the pandemic.

Further legislation could be introduced to step up food aid to Americans struggling to get enough to eat because of rising unemployment.

The White House has stressed that it wants to take a cautious approach before introducing any fresh relief legislation although Democrats in Congress are keen to get the ball rolling as soon as this week.

Congress has already passed bills worth 3 trillion dollars to combat the pandemic since the middle of March including taxpayer money for individuals and businesses in a bid to blunt the economic impact of the virus which has seen unemployment soar to 14.7 percent.

 

Oil prices have fallen back this morning as concern over a persistent glut coupled with economic pessimism caused by the coronavirus combined to cancel out support from supply cuts.

Brent crude futures were trading down 2.4 percent a little earlier at 30 dollars 24 with West Texas Intermediate down 3.3 percent at 23 dollars 93.

Both benchmarks have been notching gains over the past two weeks as countries around the world start to ease business and social lockdowns while demand has rebounded moderately.

However ,signs of a second wave of coronavirus infections in northeast China and South Korea are worrying investors who fear more economic turmoil.

Global demand for oil has slumped by 30 percent since the pandemic took hold while inventories build and there is a lack of storage space.

 

And-Saudi Arabia is tripling VAT as part of austerity measures to support its economy.

The government also said that it would be suspending its cost of living allowance to shore up state finances.

Saudi Arabia has seen its income plummet as the impact of the coronavirus pandemic has forced down global energy prices.

The country first introduced VAT two years ago as part of efforts to cut its reliance on oil revenues.

VAT will increase from 5 to 15 percent on the first of July  while the cost of living allowance will be suspended from the 1st of June.

Sport

Football-The English Premier League is facing a decisive few days as to whether it will be possible to restart the season.

Club officials will meet today to discuss “Project Restart” with a vote not expected on whether neutral stadiums should be used if and when the season is resumed.Reports say that 6 or 7 clubs are opposed to the idea.

League bosses don’t think that there’s widespread support for scrapping relegation and are confident that there’s a consensus for returning to training.

The government did not mention professional sport in its new coronavirus guidelines which were outlined by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

An announcement that professional athletes can resume limited group training is expected today.

 

Formula 1-Discussions with the UK government will take place today to establish whether new quarantine measures for overseas travellers will affect plans to re-start the season.

On Sunday ,Boris Johnson announced that air travellers into the UK would be forced to self isolate for a 14 day period on arrival.

That could affect two proposed back-to-back races at Silverstone but Formula 1 has outlined plans to make its activities coronavirus safe.

The sport is to set up a rigorous testing procedure for all personnel attending races including two Covid-19 tests before travel and further tests for everyone every two days.

A series of isolation measures will also be taken including keeping teams separate from each other at the track ,at hotels and during travel in between.

 

Rugby Union-Plans are being considered to resume a curtailed Pro 14 season on the 22nd of August.

Discussions are taking place over the tournament’s future with games almost certainly staged behind closed doors.

A return for Pro 14 is more challenging as it involves 5 different countries and international borders.

There are draft proposals to have two rounds of conference matches with sides playing teams from their own nation on the final two weekends in August.

 

Racing-Horse racing in France is set to resume behind closed doors today with a meeting at Longchamp.

Racing has been suspended in France since the 17th of March but today’s closed doors meeting can go ahead as the country eased lockdown restrictions.

British horse racing is set to return later this month including 16 Group races on successive weekends.

Weather

Overcast with outbreaks of heavy rain and moderate south westerly winds.

Top temperature 19 degrees.

Overnight lows of 15 degrees with partially cloudy skies.

Tuesday and Wednesday-Partially cloudy tomorrow with highs of 20-22 degrees-sunshine and thundery showers on Wednesday with a high of 20.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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