Almost one-third of the people in France entered an extended lockdown for a month on Saturday, with many who express fatigue and confusion over a series of recent restrictions aimed at containing a very contagious spread of coronavirus. On Thursday, the government announced the new measures after a sudden surge in the latest cases in Paris and North France.
New restrictions are less severe than those imposed during spring and November 2020, increasing fears that they may be ineffective in curbing the spread of respiratory disease. “I hope it will end up quickly, even though I have questions about how efficient the steps are,” said Kasia Gluc, 57, a graphics editor based in Paris.
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There is frustration between the so-called non-essential shop owners who are forced to close. According to the list released on Friday night, shops are allowed to remain open, including those who sell food, books, flowers, and chocolate and hairdressers and shoemakers, but not clothes, furniture, and beauty shops.
Minister of Finance Bruno Le Maire said a total of 90,000 stores needed to be closed, defending the list of stores that could remain open, especially those who sold chocolate and flowers only two weeks of Easter.
“I don’t at all say that this is ideal, but every time it is done with a simple logic: ensuring the health of the French people while maintaining as many economic activities and stores as possible,” he said while talking to the France Inter Radio.
People can leave the house as often as they want within 30 km (19 miles), in certain conditions, provided they fill the declaration, the Interior Ministry said. Prime Minister Jean Castex on Thursday only refers to a 10 km radius. “We must have permission slip but compare to previous restrictions, and we are still far from free to come out. So, are we locked? Yes and no,” said Antonin Le Marechal, 21, said.
The incumbent government, which avoided using word lockdown to describe the latest series of restrictions, argues that steps are needed to relieve pressure on intensive care units, which are now close to overflowing. Many residents of Paris left the city before restrictions began to apply in the middle of the night.