Evening Update Thursday 30 April 2020

Alpes Maritimes deputy Eric Ciotti has sent a letter to Prime Minister Edouard Philippe today asking for the start of the school year to be postponed to June 2. He said that a major health risk was posed by the return to school on 11 May because of lack of preapration and because there are "too many fears and questions to envisage a peaceful return to school" on that date. He noted that both Italy and Spain have postponed the return until the start of the next school year in September. Meanwhile, the mayor of Fréjus, David Rachline, has announced that schools will not re-open on May 11 in Frejus and will remain closed until the end of the school year. He said that a reception service would be set up for children whose parents have to return to work.

The French economy has entered recession, according to new figures published today. The economy contracted by 5.8% in the first quarter of this year according to data from French statistics body INSEE. French GDP fell by 0.1% in the final quarter of 2019. A recession is usually defined as two consecutive quarters of falling output.

An increased level of police controls is expected this weekend. Major roads, railway stations and city centres will be heavily monitored. Police reinforcements are being called in and drones and a plane will be used in the Alpes Maritimes to enforce compliance with the lockdown measures.

A distribution of masks is being organised by local authorities in Menton. Pre-registration is first required and you're able to do that from today until 5pm next Tuesday the 5th of May. You can register by going to the website menton.fr/masques and following the instructions there. Alternatively, you can call 04 92 10 50 00, which is open during town hall working hours. The aim is for each local resident to have at least one mask by the 11th of May and at least three masks by the end of the month.

Elsewhere on the Riviera, six drive-in mask distribution points have opened in Antibes today, including ones at Fort Carre and at the Palais des Congrès in Juan-les-Pins. Masks are being distributed in alphabeical order by surname over the next few days, beginning with A-F until 7pm this evening. You'll need to take appropriate ID and proof of address less than 6 months old. On Saturday it's surnames starting with the letters G to L, Tuesday May 5 for M to R and Wednesday May 6 for S to Z. The giveway of masks at the six drive-in points is in addition to the distribution of masks by post to everyone on the electoral register and also the distribution from other collection points around Antibes starting on May 11.

The town of Mandeliu-La-Napoule has made it mandatory to wear a mask in public places from 4 May. The town has also announced plans to hand out a "restart kit" to local merchan