Lunchtime News Friday 15th May 2020

France’s first weekend of freedom - This weekend marks the first weekend out of lockdown in France. So, what can you do this weekend?

While many activities can be enjoyed, precautions should at all times be taken to avoid the spread of the coronavirus.

Since Monday, we are no longer obliged to carry a travel certificate when leaving home, we must however remain within a radius of 100 kilometers. All the activities practiced must therefore be done as close as possible to home and not exceed this distance.

This weekend will certainly mark many reunions between families and friends. In public spaces, gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited. In private spaces, contrary to what had been announced, they are authorized but strongly discouraged.

While major museums and cinemas remain closed. Libraries and several small museums have reopened it is best to check online first.

The beginning of deconfinement also marked the reopening of shops. This weekend, it will therefore be possible to go shopping, while making sure hygiene measures in place are repsected.  

Several beaches closed since confinement have obtained authorization to reopen, notably those of La Baule, Pornichet and Sables-d'Olonne. Other beaches, from the Mediterranean to the North Sea, via the Atlantic, should follow suit and reopen this weekend. It is therefore possible to walk, jog, swim or practice water sports.

It is of course forbidden to go hiking more than 100 km from your home and with more than 10 people. It is also advisable to favour the least frequented spaces. Hikers must also respect social distancing. Wearing a mask is compulsory before and after practice, but not recommended during.

Note that while in the green zones, the parks and gardens have been able to reopen, in the red zones they remain closed. It is therefore advisable to inquire online about the opening of certain sites before going there.

Testing in Monaco – Free Covid-19 serological testing for the population of Monaco and its workforce is to begin next week.

The screening campaign is free, paid for by the state and on a volunteer basis. Monaco’s population will be tested first with screenings for company employees in the Principality to follow.

For the attestation required and for more information go to

Prefect of the PACA region to replace Serge Telle as Minister of State in Monaco - It’s been reported that Pierre Dartout will be the next head of government in Monaco. The prefect of the Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur region will replace Serge Telle, who has been in office since 2016, in early September.

The prefect Dartout should take office in early September, as reports say that the Elysee wished him to remain at the head of the prefecture of the PACA Region and of the Bouches-du-Rhône during the critical period of deconfinement.

Pierre Dartout is a graduate of IEP Paris and a former student of Ena. He was prefect of several departments and also director of cabinet to the President of the National Assembly.

France’s Minister of Economy rules out reinstating wealth tax and any tax increases - Speaking to French media on Thursday France’s minister of the economy Bruno Le Maire, declared that "the French economy is slowly recovering".

The minister who has completely ruled out the reinstatement of wealth tax and any tax increase, added that while "It is easy to re-establish the wealth tax and would no doubt make him popular, a 'tax on the rich' does not work. Adding that “the past shows that it didn't improve prosperity”.

Le Maire concluded that "The restart is gradual, and he prefers to do it in stages. This is "a violent, lasting crisis, on businesses for years, not months,"

Rescue plan for tourism sector - The French government  launched an 18-billion-euro rescue plan for the tourism sector on Thursday, which has been devastated by the coronavirus crisis.

Tourism accounts for about 7 percent of France's €2.3 trillion economy and makes it the most visited country in the world, according to government data.

The Prime Minister announced that cafes and restaurants could be allowed to re-open from 2nd June in green zones where the Covid-19risk is low. The decision will be made on 25 May.

Summer holidays in July and August in mainland France were also given the green light as long as Covid-19 remains under control.

Travel between France and Spain - Travel between France and Spain could be compromised in the coming weeks. As Paris intends to apply to Spanish travellers quarantine measures. Negotiations are currently taking place with Madrid as Spain, announced on Tuesday that it would strictly limit entry to its territory and impose a quarantine (of ten days) on people entering, in order to avoid the spread of new cases of coronavirus.

The quarantine will not apply to border workers or several other cases of travel between the two countries, said the Elysee. Before adding that “almost all borders within the European area (Schengen area, European Union and United Kingdom) are subject to restrictions, but the objective is to reopen the borders, around June 15th depending on the health situation”.

Complaints filed against French officials for handing of health crisis - 63 complaints have been filed in France against officials, from families who have lost loved ones to the coronavirus and are questioning the government's legal responsibility in court.

The complaints filed against Prime Minister Edouard Philippe and Health Minister Olivier Véran, are for failure to protect the public targeting the government's handling of Covid-19, amid criticism that it failed to deliver sufficient personal protective equipment to frontline health workers.

Other charges being filed before France's Court of Justice include manslaughter, failing to assist a person in danger, and failing to take timely action to contain the epidemic.

Sanofi - The French government has criticised the announcement by Sanofi that the first vaccines against Covid-19 would be sold to the United States. In response the French pharmaceutical company said Europe should follow the US example by increasing its financial support. 

French President Emmanuel Macron said he was shocked by the suggestion that the US would have priority over other countries to receive a future vaccine developed by Sanofi.

In a statement released by the Elysée Palace on Thursday, he insisted that "the vaccine for Covid-19 be exempt from normal market competition."

The reaction came after a statement by Sanofi's British CEO, Paul Hudson saying that if the company was successful in finding a vaccine, it would supply the US government first because "it's invested in taking the risk".

Elected officials in the Grand Est complain about the use of the colour red - Elected officials from the Great Est region of France, which has been particularly affected by coronavirus, have complained about the use of the colour “red” to designate the most affected areas in France.

In a letter addressed to the Minister of Health, Olivier Véran, the mayor of Strasbourg, has asked for the colour to be withdrawn saying it damages the image and attractiveness of our city".

1Safe in Italy reports those violating measures in place - A new app has been introduced across the border in Italy to stop people from violating measures in place against the spread of Covid-19. The free 1Safe application allows Italians to report security incidents to local police directly from their smartphone.

The reports arrive instantly on the computers of the municipal police. You just need to access their location to know where to send the nearest patrol. "It helps us a lot," says its commander. With the application, the 30 agents are alerted in real time. According to a poll, 72% of Italians approve of the app.







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