French and Riviera News Wednesday 15th September 2021

Local News

One person missing after storms hit central southern France - One person is still missing having fallen into a stream after extreme weather affected parts of central southern France on Tuesday with more than two months of rain fall in just a few hours. The Gard department was placed on a rare Meteo France red alert for storms, heavy rain and flooding. Part of the A9 motorway was cut off as motorists abandoned their vehicles due to the torrential rain.

Schools in the department, as well as leisure centers, will remain closed today. However, nurseries will open their doors and rail traffic is interrupted between Nîmes and Lunel until the end of the week.

Drought alert extended in parts of the Alpes Maritimes - Meanwhile the drought alert in parts of the Alpes Maritimes region has been extended until the 30th September.  The use of water is regulated in several towns and villages including Bar-sur-Loup, Cagnes-sur-Mer, Châteauneuf-de-Grasse, La Colle-sur-loup, Gourdon, Gréolières, Opio, Roquefort-les-pins, Le Rouret, Saint-Jeannet, Saint-Paul-de-Vence, Tourrettes-sur-Loup, Valbonne, Vence and Villeneuve-Loubet, Antibes, Biot, Drap, Berre-les-Alpes and Contes.

Watering lawns and green spaces, sports stadiums and golf courses from 9 am to 7 pm is prohibited. The same applies to private swimming pools, whose owners must obtain prior authorization from their town hall. Likewise, washing vehicles is prohibited, "with the exception of professional water-saving stations”.

Carrefour Lingostière and Cap 3000 no longer require health pass - The shopping centres of Carrefour Lingostière and Cap 3000 have announced the end of the requirement to present a health pass upon entering their premises. The health pass has been compulsory at Carrefour Lingostière and Cap 3000 since August 16th. At the time six shopping centers in the Alpes Maritimes were affected by the measure it is yet to be announced if the others will follow suit.  

Compulsory vaccination for caregivers - From today Wednesday 15th September, unvaccinated caregivers in France will no longer be allowed to work if they do not present proof that they have received at least one dose of the vaccine. Despite the mobilization against the health pass, the compulsory vaccination of health personnel comes into force today. A move introduced by the government to cope with a resumption of the covid epidemic due to the Delta variant.

Infectious disease specialist suggest those non vaccinated should change jobs - Speaking to French media on the matter, infectious disease specialist at Saint Antoine in Paris Karine Lacombe, said that "If you are a care worker and do not want to be vaccinated, you should change jobs". Lacombe has shown adamant support for vaccination amongst hospital staff calling for compulsory vaccination of caregivers back in July. The specialist added that “while she respects people’s choice, the job is to care for others and therefore requires vaccination”.

Nice University Hospital fears measure will see certain departments close - Meanwhile trade unionist at Nice University Hospital have warned that with the introduction of the compulsory vaccination amongst health staff the hospital will have to close certain services, calling for strike action on October 5th.  At the Nice University Hospital, 92% of staff have so far given proof that they are fully vaccinated. However, management warns that there are still several hundred not vaccinated from many different services.

HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco first head of state to complete 100% electric flight - Nice Côte d'Azur airport has hosted the first electric flight for a head of state. Tuesday, September 14, 2021 will be remembered as the day when, for the first time, a Head of State, HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, flew in a 100% electric aircraft. This step in the decarbonisation of air transport is part of the commitment of the Aéroports de la Côte d'Azur Group to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030. It was aboard a Pipistrel Velis that Prince Albert II of Monaco took his seat before taking off from Nice Côte d'Azur airport at 9:30 am on Tuesday morning, for a flight of around 30 minutes which took him to the Principality flying without noise or any CO2 emissions before coming back to land on the tarmac at Nice airport. Reacting to the flight HSH said “It's great to fly without emitting CO2. The development of electric aviation must continue so that the flights of tomorrow can integrate the use of electric motors, whether they are powered by battery or by fuel cells”.

American tourist praised for charitable act which started with a love of potatoes – An American tourist who was passing through Nice has been praised for his generous donations to the “Restos du Coeur”. Quite by accident Steve Olson on his travels through south eastern France had commented on the quality of La Pataterie in Arles, where he tweeted of an "unforgettable" experience of the best potato ever cooked by the hand of man leading to 3,000 people subscribing to his Twitter account. Soon becoming a “potato influencer” with almost 11,000 subscribers. Upon his return to the US Olson made a donation of 100 euros to the French charity “Restos du Coeur” encouraging his followers to do the same. As a result, the charity was delighted to see donations quadruple thanks to the tweet of the American tourist.

Business

Democrats in the US House of Representatives have proposed raising the top tax rate on corporations to 26.5% from the current 21% as well as increasing income and capital gains taxes on individuals making more than $400,000 a year. The proposals are part of a plan to reverse former President Donald Trump‘s signature tax bill which was passed in 2017. Analysts say that if passed, the measures could spell trouble for sectors including technology and healthcare where many investors are most likely sitting on outsized capital gains. They could also lead to tax motivated selling towards the end of the year as households attempt to lock in lower capital gains rates. Meanwhile, if Congress fails to raise the $28.5 trillion debt limit, it could lead to the government defaulting on its payment obligations. Although the outcome is unlikely, concerns are set to increase if a deal isn’t reached soon.

Amazon has increased its average starting wage in the United States to more than $18 an hour and is planning to hire another 125,000 warehouse and transport workers. The world’s largest online retailer has raised pay from an average of around $17 an hour since May and in some locations the company is giving signing bonuses of $3,000. A report by Reuters suggests that the development shows how large employers are becoming increasingly desperate to attract workers in an increasingly tight labor market. The latest data shows that fewer Americans are seeking unemployment benefits as vacancies hit a record in the reopening economy. An Amazon spokesperson said that the biggest challenge the firm has is the number of workers that it requires to meet customer needs.

The plane maker Boeing says it expects it will take another two and a half  years for global aviation to return to pre-pandemic levels. The firm says that the industry should recover to 2019 levels of traffic by the end of 2023 or early in 2024. Boeing expects that domestic flights will be at the forefront of any recovery and long haul international routes wi