French and Riviera News Wednesday 21st April 2021


Reopening of terraces and cultural places set for mid-May - French President Emmanuel Macron has set mid-May for the reopening of the first terraces of bars and restaurants and cultural places, promising a strict sanitary protocol which will be discussed at this morning’s Health Defense Council.

Survey shows majority of French in favour of a strict health protocol when schools reopen - Meanwhile according to a recent survey a majority of French people are in favour of a strict health protocol as schools reopen on Monday 26th April. The survey carried out by the OpinionWay institute shows that 83% of those questioned want "a strict protocol for the definition of contact cases" and the closure of the class to be from the first contamination declared - and not after three cases.

In addition, the respondents are overwhelmingly in favour of other measures to prevent contamination at school such as the free supply of masks to students (79%), the installation of CO2 detectors and ventilation systems in classrooms (75%) or even the organization of massive and regular testing (73%).

Covid data - According to the latest official data, while a downward slope seems to be starting in France concerning Covid numbers it is still a fragile situation with on average more than 32,000 contaminations per day.

Celebrity campaign to reassure French of AstraZeneca vaccine - Meanwhile faced with the reluctance of the population concerning the AstraZeneca vaccine, the French government is considering launching a communication campaign involving celebrities in order to convince the French. Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday acknowledged "difficulties in convincing" the French to be vaccinated with the British-Swedish vaccine due to rare cases of thrombosis and therefore now plans to launch a communication campaign in order to restore confidence in the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Mayor of Nice speaks of health situation and plans for reopening - The mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi has spoken to France’s Health Minister Olivier Véran about his intentions for the lifting of the restrictions in Nice. On Tuesday Estrosi spoke of the “encouraging figures for the region” with the incidence rate having dropped to 198 and the number of people being hospitalised standing at its lowest since the beginning of the year.

The mayor stressed that the “reassuring indicators” were no doubt due to the fact that the Alpes Maritimes went into lockdown ahead of other regions in France. Next week Estrosi plans to put forward details of a health protocol to the minister of health proposing the “reopening of around fifty restaurants to assess procedures and measure the impact on the transmission of the virus, with the monitoring of customers”. The mayor says that pedestrianized areas of the city will be able to extend terraces with the distribution of self-tests, which will be compulsory at least for the first ten days of May.

Wastewater in Cannes - Meanwhile tests carried out on the wastewater in Cannes show that the concentration of Covid is three times less than in wastewater in Nice. In Cannes wastewater is qualified as "moderate" while that of Nice is considered as "high".

Cap 3000 - The director of one of the largest national shopping centres in France, Cap3000, has said he believes in a reopening for May 17th. Roch-Charles Rosier has also expressed his wish for the sales to be postponed. With 135,000m2 Cap 3000 boasts up to 300 shops.

In other news

International arrest warrant - French officials have issued an international arrest warrant following the abduction of an eight-year-old girl last week. The child and her mother were found in Switzerland on Sunday, days after she was taken from her grandmother's house. Four men have been detained over the kidnapping, which is believed to have been ordered by the girl's mother, who has also been arrested. The investigation has now turned to a 55-year-old man based in Malaysia who is believed to have organised the abduction.

Gender equality - A new gender equality campaign is to launch in Monaco focusing on sectors such as construction or kindergarten. Posters include a woman on a worksite and a man working in a crèche with the slogan ‘everyone has their place’.  The campaign aims to end certain stereotypes by being the first country in the world to break traditional gender career coding from kindergarten.

Traffic lights - France’s Interior Ministry has given the go-ahead for traffic lights which let good drivers pass. The authorization marks a U-turn following a previous order to local authorities to remove such traffic measures back in 2020. 'Intelligent' traffic lights turn green when vehicles approach at the correct speed and allow them to pass without stopping. The lights will stay on red