French and Riviera News Tuesday 10th November 2020

News 

Threat of strike action from teachers - Teaching unions in France have threatened strike action today against the lack of health measures in schools due to Covid-19. Many teachers don’t understand why the health protocol has been stepped up by the government in high schools but not in lower education establishments such as college and primary education.

Testing for teachers - Meanwhile the Ministry of Health has announced that from next week a million antigenic test for Covid-19 will be made available to teaching staff. The tests will be carried out by school nurses on a voluntary basis. The Ministry of Education has reported that out of the 12 million students in France 3,528 have tested positive to date and 1,165 staff. The Minister estimates that the number of cases of Covid-19 among students and teachers was "under control" in France.

Small businesses to set up websites online - As the French government attempts to encourage small businesses to launch their business online, due to closure during the lockdown in France, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, has promised traders a "direct aid" of 500 euros from January 2021" to digitalise their activity. The minister also said he was in favour of relaxing the opening hours of shops, especially on Sundays, to allow them to "make up as much as possible for the lost turnover" once the lockdown is lifted. With this year’s Black Friday taking place on 27th November the Minister also pointed out that “he was unable to ban online Black Friday promotions” as demanded by some smaller traders.  

Many small businesses in town centres across France have reacted angrily at the suggestion to invest online in websites, which can cost up to 3,000 euros to set up, saying that they can’t see the point of paying high rents, employing staff and in addition be expected to invest in online services which in their view “do not offer the personalized service”. In Lyon on Monday, 200 traders protested against the lockdown measures brandishing banners saying “let us work” as demonstrators dressed in black and carried a coffin symbolizing the death of their business representing a wide range of trades from shopkeepers, restaurants, hairdressers to gallery owners.  

Covid-19 - The French Director General of Health, Jerome Salamon, has said that "the peak of the epidemic is yet to be reached”. Speaking during an update on the coronavirus situation on Monday evening he said that there had been 551 deaths from Covid-19 in French hospitals during the past 24