Lunchtime News Friday 27th November 2020


Ski resorts  - Governments in Europe are at odds over a Europe-wide plan to ban ski holidays over Christmas and New year, with Germany, Italy and France in favour but Austria and Switzerland reluctant to damage a sector worth billions to their economies.

The German chancellor, on Thursday joined Italy’s prime minister and the French president, in calling for a Europe-wide shutdown of winter sports until 10th January to avert a fresh coronavirus wave.

French President Emmanuel Macron has made clear that the country's ski resorts will stay shut until the New Year. Prime Minister Jean Castex said on Thursday he wanted to see the coronavirus rules for ski resorts "harmonised at a European level as much as possible".

Meanwhile the Mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi has suggested a health protocol which he says would allow facilities at ski stations in the Alpes Maritimes to reopen. The proposals include a respect for barrier gestures, only one seat out of two being occupied on ski lifts and no use of lifts with enclosed cabins. He added that the Metropole is asking the government to adapt the sanitary measures for ski stations so that access would be reserved for residents and property owners in the Alpes Maritimes, with attendance being limited to 50%, with reservations being made online and click and collect for restaurants. The mayor said that he is asking Jean Castex and the Alpes Maritime Prefect to consider the proposals. He said that he didn't want the region's ski stations to "endure the double penalty" between "the decisions of the French government" and Storm Alex and its "material, human and economic consequences".

Easing of lockdown - Prime Minister Jean Castex has given details on the first phase of easing lockdown measures in France from tomorrow Saturday 28th November.

Firstly, all shops and services previously considered “non-essential” will reopen and be allowed to stay open until 9pm. Driving schools will be able to resume activity and estate agents will be allowed to carry out visits. Places of worship will reopen gradually with a limit of 30 people at a time.

Outdoor sporting activities such as golf, tennis and water sports will resume from Saturday but will be limited to three hours and within 20 kilometres from your home. Ski resorts will be open from tomorrow, but the slopes will remain closed.

The “attestation” will still be required as proof as to why you are circulating outside of your home and will still allow as at present, an essential visit to assist a person in need or to carry out an essential activity with no limit on time or distance for example going to work.

It would appear that despite confusion over what you can and can’t do, the key to the easing of lockdown measures is to remember that the advice is to “stay at home as much as possible” and to ask yourself “if your reason for leaving home is essential” as part of a collective attempt in the fight against Covid-19 and “in support of those who on a daily basis are on the frontline saving lives”.  

The second phase of the easing of lockdown measures is planned for December 15th, this is only if the number of new cases of Covid-19 is below 5,000 and if the number of patients in intensive care is below 3,000. Should this be the case then from this date cinemas, theatres and museums will reopen, the attestation will be abolished and a curfew from 9pm to 7am introduced. 

As far as Christmas and News Year is concerned it will be necessary to limit the number of guests at Christmas and New Year.

Students charged in connection with killing of high school teacher - Four more students have been charged in connection with the killing of high school teacher Samuel Paty, including three who allegedly pointed out the teacher to his murderer.

Earlier this month, three other pupils were charged with complicity over the 16 October beheading of Paty, who had shown his students cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed as part of a lesson on free speech.

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