Covid during the Holidays: France’s government remains cautious but is getting ready for the worst

Published by Alexandre G. · Published on 16 November 2020 at 17h03
As Holidays are just around the corner, the executive is stuck in a difficult situation: how to fight the spread of Covid-19 while allowing families to reunite for Christmas? Even though the hope to be together prevails and seems more crucial than ever for France, after a difficult year, trips between regions and especially celebrations make members of the government fear the worst.

Holidays and Covid-19 are not meant to get on well… As a new nationwide lockdown has been set up to curb the second coronavirus epidemic wave, the executive is facing a sizeable problem as the year comes to an end: Holidays. Even though the government’s scenario plans a possible first easing of measures starting December 1, and then enabling French to go outside again, epidemic markers are still red.

Furthermore, family reunions and traditional celebrations related to this period of time are not likely to improve things. And the executive knows it. In the wings of the power, some members of the government acknowledge so. “A huge brain-teaser. Holidays, I don’t know how to do… Clearly it’s a hard time” one of them said to Le Monde.

Indeed, it seems complicated to reconcile Christmas celebrations and compliance with measures to fight against the spread of Covid-19. In the eyes of the government and the people, the Holidays are a factor of risk on the social level as much as on the health level. So far, rules are crystal clear: there is no change as long as the epidemic is not under control and there are not under 5,000 contaminations per day, as the French President said on Wednesday October 28, 2020 during his address. Yet, doctors and the Scientific Committee first, say this step will be only reached from January 2021.

With this in mind, “it would be irresponsible to hold big parties especially for New Year’s EveJean Castex said during his latest press brief. So far, he says “it’s a bit too early” to speak about Christmas during Covid. In concrete words, Christmas will be very different this year and the government is actually racking their brains on that very matter. As detailed by majority Vienne MEP Saché Houlié interviewed by Le Monde, “we can assume a gauge like the rules of 6 to be instated”. But of course, no control would be possible on a case-by-case basis.

Difficult choices expected to be made by the government in the next few days. Even though the Prime Minister keeps the flame alive stating he does not “want a video-conference Christmas”, his government his getting ready for the worst: lockdown during the Holidays, with a direct consequence being an always-expanding and strong social anger. According to majority big name LRM MEP Stanislas Guerini – loyal subject of the French President – the situation could be summed up as follows. “There are two things to do until Christmas: on the psychological level, preparing spirits to the idea our life will be affected by complying with health guidelines on a long term. And prepare the following sequence well with a massive and quick testing policy to gain control over the virus again”.

Therefore, like their government, the French are getting ready to face the worst-case scenario. A survey carried out by Opinionway released earlier in November stated that 53% of surveyed were “ready to give up to Holidays to avoid Covid-19 infection”, as for three quarters of them, they are planning to see fewer people this year.

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