Lunchtime News Thursday 14th May 2020

French government’s support plan for tourism - French Prime Minister Edouard Phillipe has presented the government’s support plan for the tourism sector in France. The Prime Minister said that the reopening of cafes and restaurants in France is planned for June 2nd in those regions classified as “green”.

The Prime Minister said a reopening of cafes and restaurants "could be envisaged" from June 2nd in the departments classified green adding that the decision will be confirmed in late May.

He also said that the limit on the use of “Ticket restaurant” (meal vouchers) will be doubled as soon as restaurants are reopened, and will therefore go from 19 to 38 euros, specifying that they will now be usable at weekends.

The Prime Minister also announced a post-crisis recovery plan. Édouard Philippe announced a 1.3-billion-euro investment plan for the tourism sector along with a solidarity fund "until the end of 2020". With the aid being increased of up to 10,000 euros, along with stronger loan arrangements and a limit that could reach the turnover of the best 3 months of the previous year.

As far as summer holidays are concerned Édouard Philippe considers the prospect of holidays in July and August "reasonable".

Edouard Phillipe added "It is reasonable to think that the French will be able to go on vacation in France, in July and August."

The ease on lockdown measures - Following the start of the easing of lockdown in France, the first phase which started on Monday May 11th is due to last until June 2nd.

More than 400,000 shops have reopened in several cities in the Alpes-Maritimes and the Var, as initiatives are emerging to support local businesses.

In La Colle sur Loup and Cagnes sur mer to support local trade, the towns have launched its "marketplace"site de vente en ligne. allowing customers to purchase vouchers online allowing businesses to run their own online store. Similarly in Nice, the city has also launched a virtual shopping site “Nice e-shopping” again the goal is to allow traders registered on the platform, to generate immediate cash revenue, but also to benefit from a virtual showcase and a guaranteed home delivery service within 72 hours.

Customers can order more than 3,000 products from shops in Nice on the platform site de commerce virtuel, : books, flowers, food, decoration, fashion and beauty.

The city of Vence has also launched an interactive map, called Solidarissime,  which identifies the essential shops open. The project continues and expands after deconfinement, aimed at promoting short trips and supporting local businesses.

Finally created by residents of Roquebrune-sur-Argens a free of charge an online sales platform for shops in the city, called: j'achète à Roquebrune.

Weather warning - The Alpes-Maritimes and the Var have been placed on the yellow weather alert by Météo France with storms forecast. The weather alert is from today at 2 p.m. until 9 p.m.

Weddings in Monaco to resume from May 18th - Weddings will be permitted in the town hall of Monaco from May 18th. Due to the health crisis the town hall of Monaco has been unable to perform ceremonies. From the 18th this will change, with very small gatherings allowed (including witnesses and parents of the bride and groom).

Some couples in Monaco were forced to postpone their union due to the health crisis. From now on while ceremonies will resume, families will have to respect very strict rules.

Nice Etoile - Nicetoile, the historic commercial center of Nice, will receive today the “health confidence” label, set up by the City of Nice to distinguish companies and commercial, , industrial and tourist signs which engage in protection of their customers, employees and visitors.

Nicetoile, which reopened to the general public on Monday 11 May, is the first major brand in Nice to receive this distinction. In order to welcome its traders and visitors in complete safety, the center has implemented a specific health protocol allowing strict compliance with protection and distancing measures.

Mayors call for face masks to be mandatory in all public spaces - Mayors from major cities across France, including Paris, have called for face masks to be mandatory in all public spaces. Current guidelines specify that a face covering must be worn when social distancing cannot be guaranteed. But some officials want stricter rules. 

In Nice the mayor Christian Estrosi overstepped the state's authority, issuing a decree on 7th May making face masks compulsory in all public spaces from 8:00am to 20:00pm on "health grounds." A few days later he was forced to repeal the text after being taken to court.

Estrosi has nonetheless published a new decree making face masks compulsory and has said on Twitter that he will "do everything in (his) power to protect the people of Nice."

Health Minister Olivier Véran said last month "there were no plans to make face masks compulsory in all public spaces."

Currently, face masks are mandatory on public transport and in secondary schools. Stores also have the right to ask shoppers to wear masks and remain a metre (3ft) apart.

Gatherings of more than 10 people are allowed at home - The French government has announced that as part of the progressive ease on lockdown measures in France private gatherings of more than 10 people are finally allowed but are still strongly discouraged.

The government had originally limited gatherings to 10 people from May 11th. However according to France’s Interior Minister on Wednesday evening private gathering of more than 10 people are authorized, the government does however call for "good citizenship".

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe on April 28th declared that "Meetings organized in public spaces or in private places" of more than ten people will be prohibited. But the decrees published on May 11th do not evoke a limitation of the gatherings of more than ten people in private places.

The Ministry of the Interior has confirmed that the decrees do not prohibit "gatherings of more than ten people in private places". However, he clarified that "hygiene measures must be applied in all places and in all circumstances, including in private places". And to add: "We effectively reiterate the messages of civility and responsibility" of the French.

Covid-19 vaccine - Marco Cavaleri, director of strategy of the European Medicines Agency has announced that based on tests currently being conducted and with an “optimistic” scenario a Covid-19 vaccine could be ready within a year.

The news comes following controversy over Sanofi's announcement about a potential Covid-19 vaccine.

The French pharmaceutical group said on Wednesday “that it intends to serve the United States first if it finds a vaccine against Covid-19”. In response to the remarks France’s Secretary of State for the Economy said this was "Unacceptable".

Speaking to French media this morning the president of Sanofi France Olivier Bogillot wished to reassure the French by saying “that, obviously, if Sanofi discovers an effective vaccine against Covid-19, it will be accessible to all " going on to justify the earlier statement by explaining that “due to regulations which differ from one country to another the US is making moves to accelerate regulation constraints", adding that "it is absolutely essential that Europe does the same thing".





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