Since the new nationwide lockdown was called, many stores considered as “non-necessary” have had to close. This is the case of toy stores and fabric stores, as well as flower stores and bookstores. Several elected officials, including Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, have decided to show their discontentment as for the closure of independent bookstores, vital to the cultural life.
Even though some of them have decided to follow restaurants and have implemented a click&collect service, others have decided to stay open, taking the risk to be assigned a fine. Faced with this catastrophic situation the literary world has to face, Alexandre Jardin has announced several French writers to rally, willing to “pay fines” assigned to bookstores that are open. “French writers have decided to pay fines to bookstores open” the famous writer claimed this November 15 on BFMTV.
“Cops can’t come to bookstores” he added before saying this resistance started already. Furthermore 1994 Prix Goncourt winner for “One-Way” Didier van Cauwelaert intends to pay the fined assigned to the Cannes-set bookstore Autour d’un livre. “The following bookstore will be on me, and then, someone else” Alexandre Jardin said on Europe 1.
“A State has no moral right to close bookstores. The State’s job is to promote thoughts, culture. We are the only ones in Europe to have closed bookstores” Alexandre Jardin criticized on the radio.
During his latest press conference, Jean Castex confirmed non-necessary stores will remain shut for at least two more weeks. But hope is expected 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” the Prime Minister 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”.
We have also learned the Prix Goncourt will be awarded on November 30 so that the French “can purchase books for Christmas”. The Academy – in charge with this prestigious literary award – hopes to put pressure on the government to get bookstores to reopen as soon as possible.