French and Riviera News Thursday 21st May 2020

Bank holiday rush - With many coastal areas in France having now reopened to the public. France is preparing for the first bank holiday rush since the lockdown was lifted.

Warm weather and the lifting of lockdown measures may see many take to the road today. French traffic monitoring service Bison Futé has warned of busy roads across France particularly around big cities such as Paris, Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux and Lille.

France’s government has reminded people to continue to respect the 100km travel limitation as well as respect hygiene measures in place. Just days after reopening, three towns in Brittany, on the Atlantic coast announced on Wednesday they were forced to close their beaches, due to measures not being respected.

The next phase of easing the lockdown restrictions in France is due to be announced by President Emmanuel Macron on 2 June.

Phase 3 of progressive end to lockdown in Monaco from June 3rd - Meanwhile the Monegasque government-ministers Didier Gamerdinger (Social Affairs and Health) and Jean Castellini (Finance and Economy) have announced the introduction of how phase 3 of the Principality's progressive end to lockdown will work.

The changes planned from June 2nd, will see several economic sectors reopen, all depending on the development of the health crisis.

In the Principality restaurants, bars, museums and casinos are  set to reopen on 2nd June. All will be subject to social distancing and new hygiene measures. Checks will be carried out by state departments. Theatres, nightclubs, gyms and spas along with swimming pools will be reviewed on a case by case basis from June 2nd.

Coronavirus - 110 people have died of coronavirus in France in the past 24 hours, bringing the balance sheet to 28,132 deaths since the start of the epidemic. In detail, 17,812 people have died in hospitals and 10,320 in nursing homes since March 1.

17,941 people remain hospitalized in France. Four regions account for 72% of the number of hospitalizations in France they are the Hauts-de-France, Île-de-France, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and the Grand-Est.

Meanwhile the Regional Health Agency has said that there have been no new deaths from the coronavirus in the Var and the Alpes Maritimes in the past day and the number of sufferers in hospital continues to decline. In the Alpes Maritimes, 137 people are still in hospital with the virus, which is the lowest since the beginning of April. In the Var, the number is 165, which is the lowest since near the end of March.

Body of missing Gérard Bastini found by police - The body of a 64-year-old father who went missing in February 2018 has been found by police in Mont-Boron in Nice. Father of two Gérard Bastiani had not been seen since leaving his mother’s home in Cimiez two years ago. Police made the discovery on May 3rd, on the hillside  of Mont-Boron, leading to Villefranche-sur-Mer.

Health services - The French Minister of Health Olivier Veran has admitted to shortcomings in the reform of health services. Speaking on Wednesday, after a meeting of the Council of Ministers, he said that the government had not been "fast enough" or "strong enough" in reforming hospitals in recent years. He also said that he wished to put pay increases in place for hospital staff. He added that, as regards the classification of red and green departments, the government is "waiting until the end of this first period of lifting of find out what the situation is, territory by territory".

Cycling traffic up by 44% - According to data published on Wednesday French commuters have adopted the bicycle en masse, with a nationwide increase in cycling traffic of 44 percent over pre-confinement levels.

The increase was not the same everywhere: the average increase was 27 percent in urban areas, but 138 percent in suburban areas and 197 in rural communities. 

Statue in Nice given a mask - The statue of Apollo in the Place Massena in Nice has been given a mask. Mayor Christian Estrosi thanked the association representing the creator of the seven metre high sculpture for allowing Apollo "to respect this essential and compulsory barrier gesture".

Diversions for traffic and pedestrians in Monaco on Sunday 24th due to filming - Parts of the Principality will be closed to traffic and pedestrians on May 24th due to filming.

As part of the filming of a short film, with Monaco's F1 champion Charles Leclerc at the wheel, the tracks of the Monaco Formula 1 Grand Prix will be closed to traffic and pedestrians on Sunday, May 24, 2020 between 6:45 a.m. and 9 a.m.

For a full list of roads concerned go to

Officials thank residents for their understanding, and excuse the inconvenience caused inviting them, from their balconies overlooking the circuit, to enjoy the show!


Airlines in the United States have announced fresh safety measures aimed at restoring passenger confidence amid signs that domestic demand is improving.

Jet Blue Airlines and United Airlines launched a public awareness campaign on Wednesday called “Fly Healthy.Fly Smart” in a bid to reassure travellers about the industry’s safety measures after social media images showed packed planes.

Airlines have made face masks mandatory for passengers  and some seats are being blocked while pilots and crew are undergoing regular temperature checks.

Aircraft are being deep cleaned using electrostatic fogging.

Data has shown that only a small number of recent flights have been more than 70 percent full but with US states reopening ,airlines are expecting an increase in domestic traffic over the extended holiday weekend for Memorial Day on Monday.


The head of Tinder has said that the coronavirus pandemic has had a “dramatic effect” on the way people use the dating app.

In an interview with the BBC ,Elie Seidman said although user engagement is up ,there’s been a dramatic shift in behaviour metrics which are normally stable.

Tinder is free but relies on premium subscriptions but people have less money to spend because of the lockdown.

Mr Seidman said that US unemployment numbers were “hard to see” and that he was very concerned about what happens economically for society and the impact that it will have on many Tinder members.

Tinder has been downloaded more than 340 million times since its launch in 2012 but the vast majority of its revenues come from 6 million subscribers who pay for the “gold” service.


And-Volkswagen has withdrawn a series of social media adverts amid a racism row.

The adverts showed a dark-skinned man being manoeuvred around by a pair of white woman’s hands before being flicked away from a yellow VW Golf.

The firm has apologised for the publicity which it now says was “wrong and distasteful”.

Volkswagen says that it would investigate how the adverts had been allowed to be published.

The advert was one in a series which was supposed to depict a love story between a dark-skinned man and a white woman.

Formula 1-A decision over whether the British Grand Prix at Silverstone will be able to go ahead is due by the end of the week.

Formula 1 is seeking exemptions from UK government quarantine regulations without which it says that it won’t be possible to stage the race.

The sport is due to publish a shortened European list of races that it hopes to be able to stage by the end of the week with the first event set to take place in Austria in July.


Football-The return of contact training for English Premier League players could be given the green light by the end of the week.

The UK Culture ,Media and Sports Minister Oliver Dowden says that he’s “very hopeful” that contact training can resume as the Premier League looks to restart the season in June.

Some players tested positive for coronavirus on Monday ahead of the resumption of limited training on Tuesday.The numbers are small and are not causing any great alarm in the sport.


Cricket-England’s Test bowlers are resuming individual training today in staggered sessions at 7 grounds around the country.

Batsmen and wicketkeepers will return to training on June the 1st.

Around 30 players in total will be asked to train although there will be no professional cricket played in the UK until at least the 1st of July.


Boxing-Kubrat Pulev has said that he will not step aside from his shot at the world heavyweight titles and has told Anthony Joshua that “you either fight or vacate the title”.

The Bulgarian is the mandatory challenger for Joshua’s IBF title but their proposed fight on the 20th of June was postponed because of the coronavirus.

Talks were ongoing in a bid to persuade Pulev to step aside so that Joshua could fight Tyson Fury in a unification bout.

Pulev says that he won’t step aside and “can’t wait to win the title”.


Fine in coastal areas with the odd rumble of thunder inland and light variable winds.

Top temperatures 24-26 degrees.

Overnight lows of 18 degrees on the coast and 15 degrees inland with clear skies.

Friday and the start of the weekend-Mainly fine with highs of 21-25 degrees.

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