Paris restaurant owners and staff staged a noisy protest on Friday following the government’s warning that the French capital is likely to go on ‘maximum alert’ next week amid a second Covid wave, forcing premises to shut.
Standing in front of their businesses at 11:45am local time, wearing black armbands and making a furore using pots and pans, the proprietors and staff of restaurants, bars, and cafes urged Emmanuel Macron’s government not to tighten Covid-19 restrictions further.
They believe that restaurants are not to blame for the spike in coronavirus cases and fear the impact of further restrictions on the hospitality industry. Some establishments expressed their disapproval via Twitter, declaring “we must stay open,” and pleading, “let us work.”
Les restaurateurs et cafetiers sont des gens responsables qui n’ont pas à être sacrifiés pr masquer l’incompétence des élus.Stop aux mesures arbitraires qui mettent en péril l’activité économique !#RESTONSOUVERTS#Metzpic.twitter.com/K3BxZNcwfO
— Françoise GROLET (@fgrolet) October 2, 2020
The protests came in response to announcements made on Thursday by Health Minister Olivier Veran that the Paris region could be placed on maximum Covid alert as soon as Monday. The move would likely see bars and eateries close, as well as the imposition of other restrictions on socializing, similar to measures already introduced in Marseille.
Bars and restaurants in Paris are already restricted to closing at 10pm, whilst gyms have been completely closed since Monday.
New coronavirus cases in the wider Paris region have grown considerably in recent weeks, exceeding the highest-level alert threshold of 250 infections for every 100,000 inhabitants. France is the second-most afflicted country in Europe by confirmed cases. As of October 1, the French public health agency, Santé Publique, has recorded 577,505 confirmed cases and 32,019 deaths.
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