September 23, 2020

France prepares to exit confinement despite uncertainties



France is preparing to leave the confinement on Monday, established on March 17 to stop the advance of the coronavirus. After 55 days, the Executive’s intention is to relaunch the economy, thereby maintaining social distance measures but allowing the reopening of most businesses.

The territory has been divided into two classifications, red and green, to organize the exit from confinement according to sanitary pressure and virus circulation.

The four northeastern regions of the country, including Paris, and the island of Mayotte, equivalent to 40% of the population, bear the brunt, and the de-escalation will have more limitations there.

In the red light districts, parks and gardens will remain closed, as will secondary schools; In order to use public transport at peak times, it will be necessary to carry an employer statement or other type of proof if it is for imperative reasons.

The use of masks in transport will be compulsory throughout the country from the age of 11 and not wearing it will entail a risk of a fine of 135 euros.

To guarantee its use, cities such as Cannes (southeast), where using it in public spaces is already mandatory, buses have been equipped with cameras and a system capable of recognizing when people do not wear masks or do not keep the minimum distance of 1 meter .

The French will be able to go out into the street without an affidavit unless it is a displacement of more than 100 kilometers, only allowed in cases of need, and they can meet in groups of maximum 10 people.

REOPENING OF SCHOOLS

But on this eve of a gradual return to normality, criticism of the government’s haste to emerge from confinement focuses especially on the reopening of schools.

Primary and last year schools for children are the priority classrooms that will reopen starting this Monday to welcome mainly children at risk of exclusion, children of professionals who cannot maintain telework, recommended by the Government, as well as children with special needs .

Although the centers have been adapting to accommodate a maximum of 15 students per class, the concern of parents and teachers still leaves the question of how many children will actually return to school this week.

The Minister of Education, Jean-Michel Blanquer, pointed out this Sunday in the weekly “Journal du Dimanche” that, according to several surveys, two thirds of parents prefer to continue having children at home and it is families in the most vulnerable contexts who are they are more skeptical of leaving their children in the classroom.

CITIZEN RESPONSIBILITY

Despite criticism from the opposition, the government maintains that its bet as of this Monday is to trust the good will of the French.

The leader of the leftists, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, criticized for his part that the distribution of the masks was not systematic and free and accused in the press the president, Emmanuel Macron, of taking on his own a decision that would put at risk many people.

Responding to doubts, Government spokeswoman Sibeth Ndiaye said today on “BFM TV” that “trust does not exclude control, but the French are not children, they have the same will as anyone to protect themselves and others “

Ndiaye recalled that the Government’s strategy is to carry out up to 700,000 diagnostic tests per week for everyone with symptoms as well as those who have been in contact with confirmed contagion cases. All of them must keep a strict quarantine of two weeks.

“We are not safe from a new confinement if the rules are not respected. It will be necessary to show civility and self-discipline for several weeks yet. The return to normality does not begin tomorrow,” said the president of the Paris region, this Sunday. conservative Valérie Pécresse, on the station “Europe 1”.

NO DATE FOR THE REOPENING OF BUSINESSES AND BARS

This Sunday, the stores were finalizing the adaptation of their spaces to welcome customers within the new security measures: distance, a maximum of people inside, use of a mask, disposition of gel, etc.

However, the worst part of this first stage is carried out by bars, cafes and restaurants, which still cannot open. The government hopes to give them an opening date in late May.

Large museums, cinemas and, in the case of the Paris region, shopping malls will also continue to be closed.

A panorama that points to a country that is largely unconfident, but with a very different face from the one it left 55 days ago, before the great confinement.

By María D. Valderrama

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