French and Riviera News Friday 8th January 2021


Health situation in France - French Prime Minister Jean Castex has announced that all public venues currently closed would remain so until at least 20th January. He also said the border with Britain will remain closed until further notice in a bid to combat the new strain of Covid-19. Two clusters of the new strain have been detected in France. The clusters were located in Brittany and in the Paris region.

Speaking on Thursday evening as expected, Castex announced that all facilities currently closed in France will remain closed and that the situation for theatres, gyms and ski stations will be reviewed on 20th January adding that “bars and restaurants cannot expect to open before mid-February”. The French government has decided, however, to keep schools open for the foreseeable future.

Health minister Olivier Véran said that the vaccine campaign had been simplified with the aim of having a million people vaccinated by the end of January. He announced that from 18th January those over 75 in France will be invited to get vaccinated, as will handicapped citizens living in special care centers. According to the latest figures, just over 15,000 cases of Covid are currently being detected daily in France and 25,000 people are currently in hospital with the virus.

Monaco - 40 new cases of Covid have been identified in the Principality. The total number of residents affected, to date, stands at 1,018. Twenty-six people are in hospital and 149 are being followed by the Home Monitoring Center.  

Needles too short - Meanwhile doctors in Nice and Cannes have said that after receiving doses of the vaccine against Covid, several errors have been noted, namely the fact that the needles are too short, and the protocol is incomplete. Head of the Pharmacy division Rémy Collomp confirmed on French radio on Thursday that the syringes delivered by Public Health France are indeed "too short" to administer the vaccine and several hospitals supporting GHT (regional hospital group), such as the Nice University Hospital, have been delivered with this type of syringe.

Vaccination campaign Nice - Meanwhile the Mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, has given an update on the coronavirus vaccination campaign during a press conference on Thursday. From Thursday, the city's vaccination center at Rue Hancy is receiving eligible people by appointment. From Monday, vaccination centres will be opening the Palais des Expositions, the Nikaïa and the Théâtre de Verdure. The mayor said that "in about ten days" they will start the campaign for people over 75 years old, excluding nursing homes and hospitals. This comprises 35,000 people and they will be able to be vaccinated "as soon as we have the green light" from the Regional Health Agency.

Cannes - Meanwhile, a vaccination center is opening on Saturday at the Palais des Festivals in Cannes. The Mayor of Cannes David Lisnard said that the center is indispensable to effectively fight the virus, implement a mass vaccination campaign and offer all those who want to be vaccinated a suitable and secure center.

Elected official calls for vaccination of “politicians to show safety of vaccine” - The president of the Ile-de-France region Valérie Pécresse, has called for the French Prime Minister to "get vaccinated in front of the cameras saying, that it is his duty to do so".

Speaking to French media, the elected official said that "Politicians must be vaccinated to show the safety of the vaccine, to restore confidence and they must be vaccinated publicly”. To encourage the French to be vaccinated against Covid-19, doctors have been vaccinated in public in recent days and artists are also committing to the vaccination in an appeal to the public.

Monaco business - A new business incubator is set to open in Monaco. Monaco Boost, which is 100% owned by the state, is located in Fontvieille and occupies over 1,200 m2. A call for applications will be launched at the end of January for individual offices with a view to setting up the first entrepreneurs in the premises in April.

State guaranteed loan (PGE) - Financial organizations in France have asked business leaders to allow more flexibility in the repayment of the state guaranteed loans (PGE). The loan which was set up to help companies get through the health crisis less than a year ago has seen nearly 25,000 companies in the Bouches-du-Rhône benefit from it but, since January 4th, financial organizations have resumed contact with business leaders about the terms of repayment of this loan, with some wanting more flexibility.

In detail, the state guarantee is 70% of the loan amount. For smaller businesses (SMEs), it can cover 90% of the loan. This loan can represent up to three months of turnover. For new businesses or start-ups, the loan amount can be up to two years of payroll. It is possible to apply for several loans. The cumulati