Defiant French Restaurant Owners ‘Face Arrest If They Try To Open’ Says Economy Minister.
France’s economy minister has warned restaurateurs today, Monday, not to defy lockdown restrictions by opening their premises, adding that their plight is not “justified” despite the impact Covid-19 has had on the industry.
Bruno Le Maire, France’s minister of the economy, responded to the news that many restaurant owners would be opening their doors on Monday “to draw attention” to their plight following months of forced closures and great financial loss.
Le Marie dismissed the planned action as only a few “isolated cases” and insisted their plight “in no way justifies not respecting the rules” of lockdown. The minister claimed that those restaurant owners who do not respect the rules, which are there for the health of everyone, will also see their access to government aid completely cut.
“Those who remain open will see access to the solidarity fund suspended for a month. In the event of a repeat offence, they will no longer have any access to the fund,” the minister announced.
France imposed a state of lockdown in late October, and the government had at that time initially suggested that restaurants might reopen on January 20. Despite incremental relaxations of the measures, the discourse in France has very much changed, with many now calling for a third full lockdown to counter high infection rates and the circulation of the more contagious British Covid-19 variant.
On Sunday, Jan. 31, Macron defended his decision to hold off on the imposition of a third lockdown, citing his confidence in reducing infection rates without imposing such severe curbs.
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