French and Riviera News Thursday 24th September 2020


Bars and restaurants to close in Marseille from Saturday - All bars and restaurants in Marseille are to close from Saturday 26th September due to the spread of Covid-19. The announcement was made during the weekly update from France’s Minister of Health Olivier Véran on Wednesday evening.

Véran defended the move saying he had taken “a unilateral decision”. The announcement has caused anger amongst elected officials of Marseille with the president of the Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur region Renaud Muselier calling it “collective punishment”.

Aix-Marseille and Guadeloupe were placed on “maximum alert” with bars and restaurants closing completely for two weeks while Paris, Lille, Toulouse, Saint-Etienne, Rennes, Rouen, Grenoble and Montpellier joined Bordeaux, Lyon and Nice being classified as “enhanced alert zones”. Meaning that from Monday, in these areas, bar and restaurants must close at 10pm at the latest, sports complexes, recreational centres and meeting halls are to close, local festivals are banned, gatherings of more than ten people are prohibited and weddings, communions and other celebrations are limited to no more than thirty guests.

In each of these zones, the Prefect may also take additional measures.

The Minister also warned that other cities, such as Tours, Strasbourg, Dijon or Clermont-Ferrand were likely to be classified as “alert zones” in the coming days.

Dr.Nathan Peirrer-Smadja, infectious disease specialist at the Bichat hospital in Paris welcomed the news saying that with “an increase of about 50% every week, in the number of Covid-19 cases in intensive care or hospitalizations the measures need to be taken to avoid returning to the same situation as at the beginning of the lockdown” adding “that these measures should have been taken two weeks ago”.

Covid-19 testingA new Covid-19 screening site opens today at Place Masséna, in Nice.Tests will be available free of charge and analyzed by an independent accredited laboratory.

In order to get tested, it is mandatory to make an appointment online at The site will be open Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Cannes Covid-19 testing - Meanwhile Cannes town hall is assisting in the opening of a laboratory dedicated to COVID tests for priority people with results within 24 hours. Located at 27-29 boulevard de la Ferrage the new facility is being operated alongside other existing coronavirus testing facilities in Cannes.

Covid-19 figures – The latest figures from Public Health France show that there are just over 481,000 cases of Covid-19 declared in France 5,913 people are hospitalised and 995 are intensive care.

In the region 143 people are hospitalised in the Alpes Maritimes, 56 in the Var and 499 in the Bouches du Rhone. 14 are in intensive care in the Alpes Maritimes, 11 in the Var and 113 in the Bouches du Rhones.

Since 1st March 216 people have died from Covid-19 in the Alpes Maritimes, 155 in the Var and 634 in the Bouches du Rhone.

In Monaco two new cases were reported on Wednesday bringing the total number of residents affected by the virus to 199. Ten people are in hospital of which six are residents and 23 people are being cared for by the Home Monitoring Centre.

Second body found after bad weather in the Gard - The body of the caregiver missing since Saturday during bad weather which hit the Gard in southern France has been found.

Firefighters discovered the body of the sixty-year-old woman on Wednesday several kilometers from where she had disappeared after her car was crushed.

The bad weather led to flooding in the region with water levels rising six meters in the space of two hours, forcing the authorities to evacuate several hundred people as a precaution.

Poster campaign - An association in Marseille has launched a poster campaign and called for “urgent action from authorities” concerning the number of shootings related to drug trafficking.

It was back in 2016 that the “too young to die” association launched its first poster campaign and then in 2018 called for a “rescue plan for the northern districts”. According to the association nothing has been done and action need to be taken urgently.  

Monaco football club limits number of spectators - Monaco’s football club has announced that the number of people allowed to attend football matches at the Louis-II stadium is to be lowered to 1,000 people.

AS Monaco are set to play Strasbourg on Sunday. The club has closed the ticket office for the match and tickets will be refunded.

Renovation - A famous Nice landmark is getting a makeover. The water mirror on the Promenade du Paillon will close today for renovation works. The mirror, which has 132 water jets and 256 LED lights, will be back in action on October 5th.

Juliette Gréco – Legendary French singer Juliette Gréco, whose career spanned over half a century, has died aged 93 at her home in Ramatuelle in the Var.

Born February 7, 1927 in Montpellier, Juliette was the daughter of a Corsican policeman, Gérard Gréco, and a Bordeaux woman, Juliette Lafeychine.

Gréco became a muse to philosophers and writers including Jean-Paul Sartre. She only stopped performing aged 89 after a farewell tour.


Weather - The summer of 2020 has set a new record as the driest in France since record-keeping began in 1959, with more than three-quarters of French departments put on water restrictions.

Figures released by Météo France have shown that as well as being the driest in the post-war period, the summer of 2020 was also the fourth hottest. 


The UK Finance Minister is to unveil a plan at minimising further job losses as stricter coronavirus regulations come into force.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak has ditched his autumn statement and will instead announce new measures to replace the furlough scheme which expires at the end of next month.

In July ,some 5 million workers were still receiving some or all of their wages through the scheme.

The hospitality sector has warned that it will be particularly hard hit by the new restrictions with many pubs and restaurants at risk of going out of business.

From today ,all pubs and restaurants in England will have to close at 10pm and there are  similar measures coming into force in Scotland and Wales.

Mr Sunak will address the House of Commons at 1.30 French time this afternoon with reports suggesting that he’ll introduce some new form of wage subsidy and more financial help for struggling businesses.

The sporting sector is also being badly hit with many lower league football and rugby clubs warning that they’ll cease to exist if they can’t get paying  customers into grounds.


The head of the US bank Wells Fargo has apologised for remarks that attributed a lack of diversity in its top ranks because of a shortage of qualified minority candidates.

Charles Scharf made the comment in a call with employees in June and reiterated it in a memo.

Mr Scharf said that he had made an “insensitive comment reflecting my own unconscious bias” and he apologised.

The Wells Fargo boss went on to say that “there are many talented ,diverse individuals working at the bank and throughout the financial services industry and I never meant to imply otherwise”.

The corporate world is facing increasing scrutiny for its handling of diversity issues with the race record of Wells Fargo in the spotlight.

The firm has already paid millions of dollars to settle investigations into discriminatory lending and hiring.


And-JP Morgan Chase and Co is moving around 200 billion euros from the UK to Frankfurt as a result of Brexit.

The transfer of the funds will make the firm one of the largest banks in Germany and it plans to compete the operation to its Frankfurt based subsidiary by the end of the year.

The assets being shifted represent around 10 percent of the bank’s balance sheet .

With under four months to go before Britain finally exits the EU completely , international banks have been increasing their operations on the continent to make sure that they can service clients given the prospect that UK based financial firms won’t retain passporting rights.


Motorsport-Lewis Hamilton says that he’s determined to see an increase in numbers of black people in motorsport and has named a new group to examine the causes for the lack of diversity.

Hamilton is to lead the group alongside Dr Hayaatun Sillem ,the chief executive of the UK Royal Academy of Engineering and there will be a total of 14 members including the former Sports Minister Tracy Crouch and former McLaren Formula 1 team principal Martin Whitmarsh.

Hamilton has set the commission the task of identifying the key barriers to the recruitment and progression of black people in UK motorsport and finding actionable recommendations to overcome them.

Football-The former Ajax coach Frank de Boer has been named as the new manager of The Netherlands.

The 50 year old has signed a two year contract up to and including the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

As a player ,de Boer won 112 international caps and he takes over from Ronald Koeman who left the national job to join Barcelona as head coach.

Rugby Union-The chief executive of World Rugby has said that he’s “extremely worried” about the future of the 6 Nations if crowds are not allowed to return to stadiums.

Brett Gosper says that some unions will go bust without government help ,possibly by the end of the year.

Losses to 6 Nations unions are expected to total 100 million pounds if paying fans are excluded from games.

Mr Gosper said that he was hopeful that broadcasting funds would help to keep the competition going but if the situation doesn’t improve by the spring then things will get “pretty desperate”.


Sunshine and thundery showers with moderate south westerly winds.

Top temperatures 24-25 degrees.

Overnight lows of 20 degrees on the coast and 16 degrees inland with partially cloudy skies.

Friday and the start of the weekend-Mainly fine but becoming very windy.Highs of 21-22 degrees tomorrow and 25 degrees on Saturday.

And Finally 

Some say it's cancelled but that hasn’t stopped one excited household in Dublin from getting into the festive spirit by putting up their Christmas decorations.

Whoever lives in this house in Ballyfermot, Dublin, decided to get out the tinsel and tree 92 days before Christmas Day.

They threw tradition out the window and lit up their house with beautiful lights and winter ornaments a whole 13 weeks ahead of schedule.

Earlier this week experts said that people who put their decorations up early are happier and more relaxed.

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