Caused by the second Covid-19 epidemic wave, has the lockdown delivered encouraging results? A question – among others – addressed by Jean Castex during the press brief on Thursday November 12 evening, with several ministers including Bruno Le Maire, Jean-Michel Blanquer and even Olivier Véran. A press brief during which the Prime Minister said the lockdown is not to be eased for now: “it would be irresponsible to lift it or even ease it for now” he insisted. He went on: “With the President, we have decided this morning to keep the rules of the lockdown unchanged at least for the next two weeks”.
As for non-necessary stores, as most of them hoped to be able to reopen this week, the Prime Minister announced there is no change for the time being: “Stores closed over the lockdown will remain so for an extra two weeks”, the Prime Minister said. Jean Castex also tried to be reassuring: “I know this is worrying for storekeepers who wanted to be able to work and they are very worried they cannot open soon enough prior to the Holidays. Our goal is to make it, but the time has not come yet” he said.
He went on: “I take the responsibility of this decision. It is heavy and difficult, but today, my role is not to head towards easy and yield to pressure, to make what is expected by many, and I get them, at the risk of jeopardizing everything and have us reclose in two weeks’ time, and perhaps for all December long”.
But hope may come in two weeks, on December 1: “If the rise of numbers in the next weeks confirmed we are in line with this perspective, first easing measures could be implemented from December 1” he explained, saying they would be “strictly limited to storekeepers that had to close for lockdown, and their reopening would be envisaged based on a reinforced protocol”.
Yet, this is bad news for restaurants, bars, gyms and other places concerned: “This first step cannot yet apply to other places receiving the public where contamination risks are naturally high such as in bars, restaurants and gyms” he pointed out.
During this press brief, Jean Castex also supported the request from Secretary of the Interior Gérald Darmanin as for reinforcing police checks. Another topic addressed, the calendar as for the Holidays: “Our goal is to enable a new easing for the Holidays so that the French can spend the Holidays with their families” he added, underlining that “they could not occur the same way as usual. […] We can of course meet with our relatives, but it would be irresponsible to hope and host big celebrations with dozens of guests, especially for New Year’s Eve” he went on. Meet on December 1 to find out more.