How far will the restrictions imposed to curb the Covid-19 epidemic go? While the measures announced Wednesday by the Minister of Health, Olivier Véran, begin to be implemented territory by territory, a group of doctors demanded, Sunday, September 27, the immediate implementation of “Drastic measures” to avoid a second wave that would be “Much more difficult for hospitals and intensive care units to manage than the first”. For his part, Olivier Véran did not rule out traffic restrictions during the All Saints holidays.
According to the new epidemic map presented on Wednesday, Marseille and Guadeloupe are classified in “maximum alert” zones. Eleven metropolises, including Paris and the inner suburbs, are classified as “enhanced alert”. And all the departments are in a “vulnerable” situation. The epidemic linked to the new coronavirus in France is in “An ascending phase”, according to Public Health France. And, among the points “Disturbing”, the health agency raises the “Increasingly strong circulation” of the virus in the elderly.
Total closure of bars and restaurants in Marseille and Aix on Sunday evening
The total closure of bars and restaurants, announced Wednesday by the Minister of Health for the Aix-Marseille metropolis, will apply to the cities of Marseille and Aix-en-Provence, in “maximum alert zone”, from Sunday evening midnight and until October 11 inclusive, except for possible delivery and take-out activities, according to a prefectural decree published on Sunday.
These measures may be “Reviewed” before the deadline of October 11, foresees this decree signed by the prefect of Bouches-du-Rhône, Christophe Mirmand, providing “A visit in a week”, based on epidemic indicators from the regional health agency (ARS) of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d´Azur (PACA) region.
As soon as this decree was officially published, the president (Les Républicains) of the PACA region, Renaud Muselier, announced that he had filed a collective action for interim relief before the administrative court of Marseille against this total closure imposed on bars and restaurants Marseilles and Aixois.
This appeal is brought by twenty catering professionals from Marseille and Aix-en-Provence, by local representatives of the business world and the sector, as well as by the PACA region, the Bouches-du-Rhône department, the metropolis Aix-Marseille-Provence and the city of Aix-en-Provence. Among the institutions, only the city of Marseille, led by the left, with environmentalist Michèle Rubirola as mayor, has not joined this process. “It is the law that decides (ra)”, insists Renaud Muselier in a press release, specifying that he “Would never call for civil disobedience”.
These new measures do not concern the 90 other municipalities of the Aix-Marseille-Provence metropolis, an area of 3,000 km2 for 1.8 million inhabitants. This development had already filtered out on Friday after the meeting between Minister Olivier Véran and several elected officials from the department to the prefecture in Marseille. At the end of this meeting, Mr. Muselier also announced that the implementation of these new directives was postponed to Sunday instead of Saturday. The closure of bars and restaurants will certainly affect fifteen other municipalities in the department, La Ciotat, Arles, Gardanne or Martigues in particular. But, in these cities, these establishments will only have to close from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.
These measures unveiled Wednesday by Mr. Véran had triggered the anger of professionals and many elected officials of the Aix-Marseille-Provence metropolis and in particular of the first deputy mayor of Marseille, Benoît Payan, who had spoken “Outrage” made in the second largest city in France.
In Paris, bar bosses demonstrate against the closure at 10 p.m. from Monday
A few dozen restaurateurs, owners of bars and nightclubs and representatives of the hotel and catering sector gathered on Sunday in front of the Hôtel des Invalides, in Paris, to protest against the tightening of health measures affecting their establishments.
The government on Wednesday tightened health measures in eleven major cities classified in enhanced alert zones including Paris, where bars are to close at 10 p.m. starting Monday. Restaurants that don’t serve “No alcohol without food” are not affected, the prefecture said, but many protesters feared on Sunday that the guidelines were only a step before a wider shutdown.
“We do not understand how the population is safer crowded in the metro than in our establishments, nor how the virus at 9:59 pm is harmless, and will kill everyone at 10:01 pm”, said Stéphane Manigold, one of the spokespersons of the “Restons ouvert” collective, which became famous thanks to its victory at the end of May against insurer Axa.
“We’ve made big investments to keep our facilities safe, and we’re told we’re going to shut down anyway. It’s like we threw money down the drain “, he continued. “A lot of people will not be able to repay the government guaranteed loan (PGE), it must be canceled”, also believes Mr. Manigold.
Olivier Véran does not rule out restrictions on All Saints’ Day
Health Minister Olivier Véran said the implementation of any travel restrictions during the All Saints holidays depended on ” what we will do in the next few days and weeks ”, he said on Sunday in Le Grand Jury RTL-Le Figaro-LCI. “If the circulation of the virus increases and it is not slowed down, if we do not put all the necessary means to slow down its circulation, well this endangers our health system and the French themselves”, he added.
Regarding the proposal of the two Nobel Prize winners in economics, Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo, to establish national confinement for the first twenty days of December to allow the French to reunite with their families during the holidays, Olivier Véran believes that this scenario is “In the order of prediction”. “I do not plan to in two months to make plans on the comet”, said the minister. “I project myself day by day with my batteries of figures (…), feedback from the field, in order to offer the French the safest path so (…) that they can spend family celebrations in good conditions. It will not go through an early confinement of three weeks. “
“We do not want to completely stop the economic, social, cultural, sporting, family life of the French. This is why we make decisions that are adapted to the gravity of the moment “ and who are “Territorialized”, he defended.
Doctors demand “drastic measures”
A group of doctors called for the establishment, “From this weekend”, of “Drastic measures” to avoid a second wave, fearing that, “Without a strong measure to fight the epidemic, the number of patients admitted to intensive care each day in a month will be around 650, equivalent to that we experienced at the peak of the first wave and will exceed 1,200 in mid-November”, they warn in a column published in the Sunday newspaper.
“Spain, Israel, the United Kingdom, Italy have for almost two weeks already implemented measures, some of them going to containment. The health situation in France is no different from that of these countries. So now is the time to act fast and hard “, alert the seven signatories, including infectious disease specialist Karine Lacombe and public health professor Philippe Amouyel, from the Lille University Hospital.
The group of doctors claims that “Everywhere, at any time”, the measures announced by the government are accompanied “Strict compliance with wearing a mask and barrier measures” and that all activities where this is not possible be suspended. “Applied from this weekend and maintained for two to three weeks, these measures could bring the level of the epidemic back to what we experienced last June” and would allow “Serene All Saints holidays”.
Our selection of articles on the coronavirus