French and Riviera News Thursday 31st December 2020


New Year’s Eve - Police checks have been carried out throughout the region as authorities prepare to crack down on people not respecting the health restrictions in place ahead of New Year’s Eve. More than 100,000 police and gendarmes will be mobilized throughout France. What is normally the most “festive” night of the year in France is to be celebrated in a very different way due to Covid-19. The curfew remains in place from 8pm to 6am with police being deployed across the Riviera. The advice is to stay at home and for those wishing to celebrate at home the gatherings are limited to six adults while still respecting barrier gestures.

Monaco closed from 7pm - For Monaco, from 7pm access to the Principality will be closed with exceptions for Monaco residents, those with a hotel reservation or employees of the Principality with the required authorisation. The Monegasque government has also announced that as a precaution against the spread of Covid, from Saturday 2nd access to restaruatns in the Principatliy will be limited to people who live, work or are staying in a hotel in Monaco. The measure will be effective from 7 p.m. and restaurant owners are invited to take responsibility. When the customer arrives at the restaurant, proof that he is a resident, employee or customer of a hotel in the Principality will be requested.

Covid-19 cases in Monaco - Although the incidence rate for Covid in Monaco is half that in the Alpes Maritimes and twice as many tests are carried out in the Principality, it has indeed been noted that the number of positive cases has increased in recent days. On Wednesday the Principality identified 26 new cases of Covid-19 bringing the total number of residents affected to 853. Fifteen people are currently hospitalised and 86 are being cared for by the Home Monitoring Centre. On Wednesday the first vaccines were dispatched to Monaco with the first vaccinations being carried out today in nursing homes.

Elected officials divided on curfew measures - On Wednesday evening it emerged that local elected officials were divided regarding a possible change in the start time of the curfew in the Alpes Maritimes. A central government Defence Council meeting was reportedly in favour of changing the curfew start time from 8pm to 6pm from 2 January in twenty departments, including the Alpes Maritimes. The mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, who is in favour of the earlier start time, said that he had estimated that lockdown would penalize "an immense majority of the population" but an early curfew would avoid "a total interruption of economic activity".

However, several other elected officials in our region have since called for the government to abandon any plans to change the curfew to 6pm disputing its relevance. They said that it risks having a counterproductive effect because people will congregate in large retail outlets in shorter times and that it would have been more effective to establish strict border controls and impose tests on all travelers arriving at the airport.

National figures for Covid - On a national level France identified more than 26,000 new cases of Covid in 24 hours. However, this figure was particularly high compared to the previous day (11,395) due to a catch up of data from the day before according to Public Health France. The positivity rate, which measures the percentage of people positive for Covid-19 out of all those tested, has remained unchanged as do new admission to hospital and intensive care units.

Public Health France has reported 304 deaths linked to Covid-19, which occurred in hospital in the last 24 hours. Since the start of the epidemic, the total number of deaths in France has reached 64,381, a figure which takes into account data in nursing homes.

December 30th, 2019 - It was one year ago today, on December 30, 2019, that Chinese doctor Li Wenliang launched an alert on a mysterious virus affecting several patients at Wuhan hospital. Silenced by the authorities, he died 39 days later of the virus.

Rose production devastated by hail - A rose production in Antibes will take weeks to recover after being completely destroyed by a hailstorm on Christmas Day. The hail and snow which hit the French Riviera on Christmas Day caused the greenhouses to collapse with the owner Frédéric Nicolet losing 50% of his rose farm. Other farms have been also been affected in the vicinity but much less than this one.

Fireworks prohibited - The Prefect of the Var has drawn attention to the fact that the sale, carrying, transport and use of firecrackers, fireworks and pyrotechnic items is prohibited up to and including next Wednesday, January 6. Similar provisions are in force in the Alpes-Maritimes up to and including 2nd January.

Where there’s a will there’s a way? – A ski resort in the Hautes Alpes has turned to horses and ponies to take people up the mountain, as ski lifts remain closed due to Covid-19. Saint-Léger-les-Mélèzes, came up with the idea as a way to enable ski school pupils to continue to their classes - within the health restrictions - on green and blue slopes that remain open for beginners.

French President closes agreement with China while working from home - Currently working remotely from Fort Brégançon, in the Var, French President Emmanuel Macron has concluded an agreement between Europe and China. After spending a week self-isolating in the official residence of La Lanterne, the Head of State arrived in the Var with his wife. The president was on videoconference on Wednesday to conclude an economic agreement between Europe and China. For the third year in a row, Emmanuel Macron has chosen to spend the end of year celebrations in the presidential residence located in Bormes-les-Mimosas with his wife, Brigitte Macron. The president is due to present his wishes to the French this evening as French people prepare to spend an unprecedented New Year's Eve, under curfew from 8 p.m.


The operators of one of the crucial Dover to Calais routes has insisted the recent chaos with thousands of lorries stranded in Kent will be avoided when new trading rules begin later tonight. Hauliers in Britain taking goods to the EU and Northern Ireland will need new paperwork from 23.00 GMT tonight as the UK's new trading relationship with Europe begins. The government warned those without correct documentation would be stopped.

Meanwhile the US will impose new import taxes on some French and German goods as part of a long-running trade dispute. On Wednesday it announced tariffs on aircraft manufacturing parts along with certain non-sparkling wine, cognac and other grape brandies. The US Trade Representative said in a statement that “these will be added to the list of products taxed since 2019.”

 Larry Culp, the boss of General Electric, is to receive a bonus of nearly $ 47 million as the group lays off thousands of employees to respond to the crisis caused by Covid-19. Two years after taking the reins Culp is guaranteed to receive a bonus of nearly $ 47 million while the industrial group is laying off thousands of employees, especially in France, to respond to the crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

On August 18, GE amended Larry Culp's compensation plan, adopting new terms that were very favorable to the executive compared to the initial employment contract signed in October 2018. The company extended his contract until 2024 with an additional one-year option and then lowered the financial targets it set for him, giving him more time to turn the business around. Sources inside the company say they recognize the bonuses are extraordinary given the company's decline but note that all of this money will not be available until early 2024 at the earliest. "Under Larry's leadership, GE has made significant progress against the goals it set on the first day of taking office as CEO: to improve the company's financial position and strengthen the business," a spokesperson told AFP. Larry Culp's bonus has been previously reported by Bloomberg, the Financial Times and other media.

And - Asia has a new richest person thanks to his vaccine-making firm and bottled water company. Zhong Shanshan has seen his wealth surge $7bn (£5.1bn) this year. His is worth $77.8bn, making him the world's 11th richest person according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Nicknamed the "lone wolf" Mr Zhong's career has spanned journalism, mushroom farming and healthcare.


Formula One - World champion Lewis Hamilton has been knighted in the Queen's New Year Honours list. The 35-year-old Briton, 35, sealed a seventh drivers' title at the Turkish Grand Prix in November - equalling Michael Schumacher's championships record.

Rugby - Rugby league legend Rob Burrow is made an MBE for services to rugby and his awareness campaign since being diagnosed with motor neurone disease.

Football - Others made an MBE include former Tottenham and Chelsea striker Jimmy Greaves and ex-Wolves midfielder Ron Flowers, both World Cup winners with England in 1966.

And - Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said his side's position in the table is "the last thing" he is thinking about after they drew at Newcastle to finish 2020 three points clear at the top of the Premier League. Last nights match between Tottenham and Fulham was called off three hours before kick-off due to new coronavirus cases.


Sunny intervals and a moderate breeze with highs of 11 degrees in Nice, Antibes and Cannes. 10 degrees in Saint Tropez and the Var with gusty winds and rain forecast for this afternoon. This evening going down to 6 degrees in the Alpes Maritimes and 5 degrees in the Var.

The outlook for New Year’s Day heavy rain is forecast across the region continuing into Saturday with highs of 11 degrees.



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