French President Macron commends France’s workers on Labour Day and highlights May 11 is only the initial step of a larger plan to lift lockdown
FRANCE’S President Emmanuel Macron warned today that the end of the national lockdown on May 11 would only be a first step as the country eases itself out of the Coronavirus crisis. “May 11 will not be the passage to normal life. There will be a recovery that will need to be reorganised,” Macron said in a speech from the presidential palace.
“There will be several phases and May 11 will be one of them,” the president added.
This year’s traditional Labour Day protests were cancelled due to the virus outbreak, however, unions organised online activities and asked people to bang pots and pans and put out banners on their balconies to mark the day.
Macron, in a message on his Twitter account, commended the traditional parades and French workers, urging unity and solidarity during these tough times but also highlighting the rocky path ahead. Union officials and some opposition leaders were quick to air their concerns amid the crisis.
“This is an opportunity to bear the social demands that we have been defending for a long time and that the crisis has highlighted,” said Philippe Martinez, the general secretary of CGT.
In a controversial move, Macron’s government has decided that schools will gradually reopen from May 11, despite reservations expressed by scientific advisors. Most businesses will also be free to resume operations that day, although the government has urged companies to allow staff to continue working from home where possible.
The government has said it is prepared to slow or delay the unwinding of the lockdown if the Covid-19 infection rate rises again, with administrative departments divided into ‘red’ and ‘green’ zones.