Catering entrepreneurs on the street against corona measures in France: ‘I just want to work’


“We cannot tolerate what is happening now,” says one of the furious hospitality entrepreneurs against the French news channel BFM. “I don’t want support, I just want to work.”

As in the nearby town of Aix-en-Provence, they are obliged to close their doors for two weeks by the national government. A Parisian emergency action in the hope of getting the corona virus under control.


But in Marseille there is mainly misunderstanding and resistance. Hospitality entrepreneurs are therefore taking to the streets again today. “During the holidays everyone came to sit on our terraces and there was nothing wrong. And now that everyone has gone, we are taking care of all the problems, so to speak,” it sounds.

According to correspondent Stefan de Vries, this cry for help does not have to count on an audience from the capital. “It is not exactly in the French DNA to consult,” said the France reporter. “Whatever part of France it is, Paris decides. In fact, President Macron decides.”

‘Over the peak’

Rules are also being tightened in the capital itself. In the city and municipality of Paris, restaurants and bars must close at 10 p.m. In addition, meetings of more than 10 people in public are no longer allowed and fitness clubs must be closed completely for the time being.

Coronavirus in France

France has been on edge for a while. The second corona wave has been moving across the country for weeks. With at least 10,000 new infections every day in the past week. In total, 31,727 people have died from the virus.

Concerns about the situation in Paris and Marseille are even greater. Converted, there are 210 infections per 100,000 inhabitants in that southern region. By way of comparison: in Amsterdam there are currently 194 infections per 100,000 inhabitants.

The rules meet with resistance. And not only from the catering industry. Michèle Rubirola, the mayor of Marseille, has spoken out several times against measures devised by the national government.

According to Rubirola, a doctor herself, things are going in the right direction after a recent revival of the virus. In a tweet she wants to show the French Minister of Health that her city has already passed the peak of the new corona wave.

Just open again

She is not the only politician to criticize national policymakers. Even local party members of President Macron say they do not support the measures. “While at the beginning of the corona crisis you saw that the measures and even the far-reaching lockdown were accepted,” said De Vries.

But that seems a long time ago now. In Marseille, entrepreneurs and residents feel supported by their mayor’s criticism of national policy. And so several catering entrepreneurs simply open their doors. Enforcement does not seem to be an issue yet.

“I’m going to try to sell my stock of mussels”, he said one of the restaurateurs. “I’ll see if the police will come and see if opening my restaurant will have consequences.”

Devil’s dilemma

According to De Vries, the jobs are currently not exactly for the taking in France. “Even before the entire crisis, the French unemployment rate was already at 8.4 percent.

In France, an increase in unemployment towards 18 or even 19 percent is expected before the end of this year. “Those economic concerns make every measure Macron’s government takes a diabolical dilemma.”

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