During a new press brief held on November 12, Prime Minister Jean Castex announced non-necessary stores were to remain closed for two more weeks. As many were crying for small stores to reopen starting November 27, BFMTV says that they may be ultimately allowed to reopen on Saturday November 28, if they comply with a new and reinforced health protocol (lower gauge, extended opening hours...).
This reopening has been confirmed by French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday evening. Emmanuel Macron did announce that all stores - including home services - were to resume starting November 28 in the morning. They are allowed to open until 9 p.m. at the latest, complying with a reinforced health protocol. "Bookstores, record stores, libraries and archives... can reopen under these conditions" he said.
Storekeepers under pressure
After a first very rough lockdown earlier this year, in Spring, the 200,000 "non-necessary" stores must close again following the announcement of the new nationwide lockdown. Since then, many of them have shown their discontentment; several mayors have ordered decrees against the closure, some stores are still open... The wrath of small businesses have been escalating.
On November 9, invited on BFMTV, Minister of the Economy Bruno Le Maire said closing stores was "heartbreaking" but it was "the condition for us to start over as well as possible", he added, criticizing the "irresponsible" mayors again that ordered decrees to allow them to reopen.
As for Medef president Geoffroy Roux de Bézieux, he calls for the soon reopening - like many others. "The right solution is to reopen all stores, as soon as possible. Perhaps with stricter health guidelines, perhaps with new gauges, perhaps with an appointment system. But we cannot spend December with closed stores", he insisted on this November 10 in Le Monde. "It would be an economic tsunami. And I add, the impact goes beyond stores: when toy stores are closed, manufacturers are impacted", he added.
What about bars and restaurants?
Still according to Le Parisien, the executive is not willing to change their minds. "As for bars and restaurants, the deadline remains the same as set for the end of lockdown" the entourage of Jean Castex says. "Possibilities to making it softer are smaller than for small stores, because those are places where one is without a mask" a senior civil servant says in the daily.
Since then, Prime Minister Jean Castex suggested during the latest press brief that bars and restaurants - closed since the new nationwide lockdown began - will have to be patient. According to Le Point, a possible reopening is not planned before January 15 or even February 1, 2021.
As for government spokesman Gabriel Attal, he says on November 17 the executive will provide "prospects in early December" adding that so far "no decision was made on the agenda".