The essential Emmanuel Macron has to address the French in a few days to discuss lifting the imminent health restrictions. While some professions see the end of the tunnel, others remain uncertain. La Dépêche takes stock.
A delicious meal in the restaurant, a good film in the cinema, a rhythmic session in the fitness studio … The French have been deprived of these joys of life for over a year. The situation will finally change in the coming weeks.
Emmanuel Macron hinted at a reopening “in stages” and “territorialization” during a trip to Seine-et-Marne on Monday. Like every Wednesday, the head of state must chair a new Convid-19 Defense Council, which is devoted to the reopening plan this morning. He will have to turn to the French in particular in the coming days to announce this calendar.
Here’s what we know about the coming weeks.
May 3rd: End of the 10 km rule
The 10 km travel restriction with mandatory certification above this threshold will be lifted from Monday 3rd May. From this date it will be possible to travel through France again. For this reason, the SNCF has already announced that it will run more trains on weekends in May. The curfew will remain in effect between 7:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. until further notice. Emmanuel Macron wants to delay it: “We will try to change because it is a little early at 7 pm,” the president replied to a young student from Melun in Seine-et-Marne on Monday.
May 3: Middle and high school students return to class
Middle and high school students who resumed distance learning on Monday April 26th will physically return to class on Monday May 3rd. This return to class will be halfway in high school. The same situation for 4th and 3rd year students only in the departments where the incidence rate is highest. Neither Occitanie nor Lot-et-Garonne are affected.
Mid-May: the terraces reopen
The restaurant terraces could be reopened in mid-May. Before or after the Ascension Thursday bridge? The date is not set. “I want us to be able to achieve the goal by mid-May at national level, for example opening the terraces,” said Emmanuel Macron during a tour of Melun.
“The terrace is symbolic. The terrace is the symbol of the consequences,” says Jean Terlon, Vice President of UMIH Catering, the trade union for the craft and hospitality industry. But there are still many questions for professionals who don’t all have a terrace. Only 40% of French restaurants have it. “Will the capacity of the terrace always be limited? If it rains, the terrace has to be closed? Can the State Solidarity Fund and partial unemployment be requested at this time,” asks Jean Terlon, interviewed by La Dépêche.
The terraces of restaurants, but also bars and cafes are affected.
A café terrace in Toulouse, October 2020. Photo DDM archive, Xavier de Fenoyl
Mid-May: reopening of the cultural sites
Emmanuel Macron traveled to Melun and said the goal was to reopen cultural sites “with limited measuring equipment and privileged access for school children from mid-May”. Regarding cultural institutions, the head of state said: “We will try to reopen before the first phase with reduced readings.” Before specifying: “For theater, cinema and others we can see that if we limit the numbers we can (reopen) them in the first stages”.
Specifically, the cinemas should reopen on Monday, May 17th, at a rate of 35%, then 65% three weeks / one month later and 100% three weeks / one month later. This schedule “has been discussed for two months and is based on relatively solid elements,” explains Marc-Olivier Sebbag, General Delegate of the National Federation of French Cinemas, in La Dépêche. “We have to start the signal, we are ready”. Participation depends on the French desire for cinema, the curfew schedule and the films shown. “
The utopia cinema in Toulouse. Photo DDM Archives, Frédéric Charmeux
End of May / end of June: Reopening of the restaurant rooms
Bars, cafes and restaurants will reopen their rooms later than the terraces. The reopening would be staggered between the end of May and the end of June, just before the start of the summer season, depending on the department.
“I think we cannot reopen the restaurants, around the end of May in June, in the departments where there is still a lot circulating. In others where it has fallen a lot, we have to open them (…) It will It will be in the middle of May, there will be a stage – I think – in the beginning of June and then another one in the middle or in the end of June, “said Emmanuel Macron during his tour.
Precise data is what restaurateurs want. “We have to be warned three weeks in advance,” asks Jean Terlon, Vice President of UMIH Gastronomy Activity. We need to place our orders and clean our facilities before we reopen. “Under the conditions of the reopening, Jean Terlon accepts the head of state’s advice:” Territoriality, yes, why not. There are regions that are less affected. “For Jean Terlon” people will certainly rush to restaurants, but will we be able to meet the demand? “He thinks delivery is on the way.” More stressful “than childbirth.
A couple in a restaurant with a panoramic view over the rooftops of Toulouse. Photo DDM archives
Mid June / end of June: reopening of other closed places
Other locations currently closed, such as sports halls, could potentially reopen in late June. They haven’t opened their doors since their second detention in late October 2020. A hypothesis because Emmanuel Macron did not mention it either on his tour or in his press conference held by Jean Castex on April 17th.
The sports halls have been closed since the end of October 2020. Photo DDM archive, Valentine Chapuis
Professionals still in the dark
Numerous areas of activity that are currently closed or idle are impatiently waiting to be resumed: shops in shopping centers; Trade fairs, shows and event professionals; Night clubs; Amusement parks and resorts.
“There is an urgent need to achieve a full and rapid reopening of all stores in shopping centers,” asks the National Council of Shopping Centers, the Alliance du Commerce de Procos, in a press release. 525,000 permanent jobs and the future of thousands of businesses are at stake. Shopping centers with an area of more than 20,000 m² have been closed since the end of January.
The Unimev (French Union of Event Trades) believes that “there is an urgent need to restart the event machine before summer” to ensure its economic survival. It suggests a three-stage recovery with gauges at 35, 50 and 100% intervals three to four weeks apart, but rejects territorialization.
Sport in anticipation
The sport also looks forward to being able to resume normal activity. The public is still prohibited in stadiums and sports fields. By when? Among amateurs, adults and children who play indoor sports still cannot exercise indoors. Swimming pools and ice rinks are also dubious.