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 th