Evening Update Monday 4th July 2022

Water-use restrictions have been announced for 40 communes around the Alpes-Maritimes as the risk of drought intensifies. Among the affected communes are Antibes and Biot, towns along the Paillon valley including Peille, Drap and Cantaron, and the Artuby, Brague and Esteron basins. In these areas, it's forbidden to water your garden, wash your car, clean outdoors or play water games until 31st July. You can still have your car washed by an authorised professional. Factories in the affected zone are required to reduce their water use by 60%. Most of the rest of the department is on what's called an "enhanced alert". It's strongly recommended to limit your water use where possible. Gardens should only be watered after 7pm or before 9am. Water levels in some parts of the Alpes-Maritimes are at their second-lowest level since 1959. And while some heavy rain last week temporarily improved water levels, it wasn't enough to reverse the underlying trend. The drought alert could remain in place until autumn.

A second beach in Menton has been officially classified as smoking-free. After the Plage du Fossan, it's the Plage des Sablettes near the Old Port that now gets the official label from the National League Against Cancer. The ban had technically been in place since last year but hasn't been very strictly enforced. From this summer, Menton is promising a zero-tolerance policy with fines of 68 euros. During a recent clean-up, 9,500 cigarette butts were picked up from the beaches of Menton. Smoking remains allowed on the town's other beaches, but it is forbidden everywhere to leave cigarette butts in the sand.

Meanwhile, swimming has again been allowed off the coast of Cros-de-Cagnes. On Friday afternoon, the town hall banned bathing after raw sewage overflowed into the seawater. The ban was lifted on Saturday after analysis of the water found it was again safe.

In Corsica, three major tourist sites have introduced visitor quotas this summer to try to protect them from the expected influx of holidaymakers. They're the Lavezzi islands, the Restonica Valley and the Bavella Needles. The visitor limits will be in place all season.

The coronavirus incidence rate in the Alpes-Maritimes continues to rise, breaking through the mark of 1,000 cases per 100,000 inhabitants last week. This is the seventh wave of Covid-19. It started at the end of May, when the incidence rate was just 200 cases per 100,000. The absolute record set in mid-January this year was 4,300 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. On Friday alone, 125,000 new cases of coronavirus were recorded nationwide. Just a week earlier the figure was 80,000.

In the Bouches-du-Rhône, more than 2,000 people joined a vigil on Saturday in memory of a teenage boy who was killed in a drive-by shooting. 15-year-old Marw