Evening Update Thursday 14 May 2020

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has raised the prospect of cafes and restaurants being able to re-open on 2 June. In a major announcement concerning the tourism sector he said that such a re-opening "may be considered" but would only be permitted in departments classified as green and subject to the evolution of the pandemic and appropriate health measures being respected. A final decision will be taken during the week beginning 25 May. The Alpes Maritimes and the Var are currently classified as green. He said that restaurant and bar owners should prepare themselves to implement health protocols. The limit on the use of restaurant vouchers will be doubled from 19 to 38 euros and will  be usable at weekends and on bank holidays until the end of the year.

As regards the summer holidays, the Prime Minister said that it's "reasonable to think that the French will be able to go on vacation in France, in July and August" subject to what he called "possible very localised restrictions" and to the progress of the epedemic. He said that the government was making what he called an "unprecedented" plan involving "18 billion euros in commitments" to the tourism sector and that partial unemployment for businesses in the sector would be extended until at least the end of September.

Separately, SNCF have said this evening that reservations for this summer will open tomorrow.

The mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi has issued a third municipal decree to maintain the obligation to wear a mask in public spaces. The measure came into effect yesterday. It means that wearing a mask is obligatory in Nice when social distancing measures can't be respected. Controls have begun, with offenders being subject to a €38 fine. The measure is in place until June 1st.

The French government has announced that private gatherings of more than 10 people are allowed, but are still strongly discouraged. The Ministry of the Interior said that recent decrees do not prohibit "gatherings of more than ten people in private places" but "hygiene measures must be applied in all places and in all circumstances, including in private places".

The French government has said that it would be unacceptable for French pharmaceuticals company Sanofi to give priority to any particular country for distribution of vaccines.  The company's CEO said in an interview yesterday that the United States would have the right to the "largest pre-order" of a coronavirus vaccine because it was providing funding. Deputy Finance Minister Agnes Pannier-Runacher said today that the government has received assurances from Sanofi, which is based in Paris, that vaccines would be made available to all countries, including France. Prime Minister Edouard Philippe tweet