French and Riviera News Thursday 7th May 2020

End of lockdown –Prime Minister Edouard Phillipe is to address the National Assembly today at 4pm to outline the end of the lockdown in France from Monday 11th May.

While many elements linked to the end of the lockdown in France have already been announced detail and clarification on transport, freedom of movement and the rules of quarantine for those arriving in France are still eagerly awaited.

Edouard Philippe will be accompanied by several members of the government including the Minister of Health Olivier Véran, France’s Interior Minister Christophe Castaner and the Minister of Education Jean Michel Blanquer.

France already has a plan should the end of lockdown fail – Meanwhile referred to by some as “Monsieur deconfinement” Jean Castex, the national coordinator for the deconfinement strategy for the French government has assured that “should the progressive end to the lockdown on May 11th fail, he has already prepared a plan for the “reconfinement” or “return to lockdown”.

Speaking to French media on Wednesday Castex said that from May 11th, "as soon as the number of positive patients, beyond contact cases, is abnormally high, then it will indeed be necessary to give France the means to act immediately ".

He added that “while a plan is ready, should France need to return to lockdown, that is not our objective," concluding that "If we don't want this to happen, one of the best ways is that we respect the essential rules, barrier measures, hand washing, wearing masks in certain situations, and getting tested as soon as “we have symptoms”

According to him, "national mobilization will be a determining factor" for the success - or failure - of deconfinement.

Petition calling for beaches to reopen – Meanwhile a petition calling for beaches in the region to reopen from May 11th has collected over 18,000 signatures. The petition will be addressed to the Prefects of the Provence-Alpes-Côte-d'Azur region.

On Tuesday, an amendment proposing the reopening of beaches for individual sporting activities was approved by the Senate..

New transport plan for Nice from May 11th - The Mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi has unveiled details of a new transport plan for the city from May 11th.  Boulevard Gambetta will be open to buses and bicycles only, from Avenue Thiers to the Promenade des Anglais.

The frequency of buses and trams throughout the city will be increased from the 11th. The method of getting on and off trams will be changed, with access via the middle door only, with the doors at each end being reserved for exit only.

Bus stops will have markings in place to show physical separation distances. The mayor also announced significant help for bicycle riders and those considering buying a bike. Aid of 100 euros will be given to those buying a mechanical bicycle. 200 euros of aid will be given to those earning up to 2,500 euros per month who purchase an electric bicycle. A significant number of bicycle lanes and paths will also be created in Nice over the coming weeks.

Nice International Airport - Nice International airport is currently limited to four daily flights. It’s been announced that a return to normal is pending on clarification from the French government for the deconfinement of airspace.

Since March 16th, Terminal 1 has been completely closed with all flights departing and arriving at Terminal 2. Of the four daily flights three are to Paris, Corsica and London with a third dedicated to repatriation.

As the airport authorities await directives from the state concerning the organization of deconfinement which is hoped to be by mid-June, management and staff are working on implementing sanitary measures to meet the requirements of safe travel.

SNCF- Meanwhile the SNCF has announced several safety measures aimed at protecting travellers from 11 May. Wearing a mask will be compulsory on public transport. Users who do not respect this will risk a fine. Train users will have to bring their own mask as the SNCF will not be providing them. Sanitising gel dispensers will be installed in 165 stations and all trains will be cleaned and disinfected at least once a day. The SNCF is also preparing a transport plan which will be announced at the end of this week. Train passengers will be able to know how crowded their train is expected to be the day before their journey by using the SNCF app.

When possible, teleworking made compulsory in the Principality - The National Council in Monaco has unanimously voted a bill making teleworking compulsory during the health crisis.

In order to help limit the spread of the virus, and in order to protect the health of employees and employers but also of the entire population, teleworking is compulsory for all positions which allow it.

Website pulled by French government - The website Désinfox, designed to combat the spread of disinformation about the Covid-19 and set up on the government official website has been pulled. It was reporte