French and Riviera News Friday 5th February 2021


Dominique Estrosi-Sassone calls for a review of the travel restrictions between France and Monaco - The senator from the Alpes-Maritimes and President of the friendship group between France and Monaco Dominique Estrosi-Sassone has called for the French government to reconsider and review the travel restrictions currently in place between the Principality and France due to the health crisis. Following a tightening on France’s borders, announced by the Prime Minister on January 29th in an attempt to curb the spread of Covid, all those entering or leaving France to or from a country outside of the European Union require a valid reason outlined by the French government. For the inhabitants of the Principality a radius limited of 30km around the Principality has been put in place restricted to 24 hours.t Any travel further than 30km or for a longer period of time is subject to the presentation of a negative Covid test within the last 72 hours along with justification of a “compelling” reason.

In the senator’s press release published on Thursday Estrosi-Sassone says that "It is clear that the reciprocity of measures has been neglected, as Monaco does not prohibit French access to the Principality” adding that “it is necessary to respect the fraternal relations and strong economic and social ties between both France and Monaco”. The senator concludes that she hopes that “common sense will prevail so as not to penalise Monegasques and residents who have professional and family ties in the Alpes-Maritimes beyond the radius of 30 kilometers. "

Several health experts surprised by the government’s decision on the health crisis - As Prime Minister Jean Castex declared that the current health situation in France "does not justify" at this stage a new lockdown during a press conference on Thursday evening, health professionals on the contrary have expressed their astonishment at the status quo chosen by the French government.

According to Professor Gilbert Deray, of the Pitié Salpêtrière hospital in Paris, while France is indeed in a pandemic wave, “health is no longer a priority in decisions that are made by the Head of State”. Adding “that the only way to end the pandemic is to introduce a complete lockdown”.

Press conference - French Prime Minister Jean Castex said at the weekly Covid press briefing on Thursday that Covid statistics in mainland France, though concerning, did not warrant a new lockdown. The head of government warned, that the situation was under constant review and announced that from this evening the French Indian Ocean island of Mayotte would begin a lockdown to last at least three weeks.

The Prime Minister also announced that travel between mainland France and its overseas territories will no longer be allowed except in exceptional circumstances.

Health Minister Olivier Véran - In a summary of progress so far, Health Minister Olivier Veran said that by the end of March, every Care Home resident who so wished, would have had a first vaccination jab. Véran also announced more testing in schools and universities and a new saliva test is nearing approval. The aim is to have it ready for use when schools re open after the mid-term break, as it is considered more suitable for children.

Concern in the drop in the number of people working from home – France’s Employment minister Elizabeth Borne has expressed concern at the drop in the number of people working from home. Borne declared that wherever it was possible, people should do so. She listed banking and insurance among sectors where too little work was being done from home.In a sign that people are tiring of the restrictions, Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin stated that fines for failures to respect anti-Covid rules, had gone up by 53% since the 6 pm curfew was imposed on Jan 16th.

In other news

Colllege evacuated in Nice Nord - The Jean-Henri Fabre college in Nice Nord has been evacuated due to a pepper bomb. The incident occurred on Thursday afternoon shortly after 4pm. Emergency services intervened, and no one was injured in the incident.

Protests in Marseille – According to local media nearly 3,500 people have gathered in the Old Port of Marseille. The demonstration on Thursday was to promote “social progress and the sharing of wealth” protesting against, amongst other things, the pension reform in France, lack of resources in France’s hospitals, and the closure of supermarkets over 20,000m2.

Citadel of Saint-Tropez - Renovation work is planned for the citadel of Saint-Tropez. The emblematic heritage site has ensured the protection of the village for centuries. Currently partially closed to visitors for security reasons renovation work has been launched which aims to give the fortress, bought by the city in 1993, and classified as a historic monument “a new lease of life”.

The Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur region has ranked