French residents are allowed, as of Monday, to travel up to 100km away from home for non-essential journeys. As a result, the border town of Le Perthus saw an onslaught of shoppers crowd its streets in search of cheaper cigarettes, alcohol or groceries.
The thing is, while part of Le Perthus is on the French side of the border, the part selling low-priced goods – El Pertús – is on the Spanish side. And under normal circumstances, crossing the border is as simple as walking from one side of the street to the other, but Spanish police officers have cordoned off the border to regulate entry into establishments on their side.
Many French shoppers were spotted wearing face masks, but given the sheer amount of people waiting to cross over into the Spanish side at once, maintaining a safe distance between people has been tricky: “We’re trying to keep everything in order the best we can,” a shopkeeper said.