French Prime Minister Jean Castex announced last Sunday in a television interview that French department stores will not be able to sell non-essential goods from Tuesday. The purpose of the measure is to avoid a climate of unfair competition at a time when all non-essential services ended, due to the second national confinement, announced by Emmanuel Macron last Friday.
“Dramatic situation”. This is how small traders describe their condition, after seeing their spaces close, especially at a time before Christmas. After meeting with several associations for the defense of local commerce and the large supermarket chains, the French Government decided that “For equity” the sale of goods that are not essential in large areas should be prohibited.
Merchants’ unions were in favor of the decision, but stressed that the important thing would be to reopen the stores. But the French Prime Minister has already clarified: “We are not going to review the measures announced [de um novo confinamento]. It is definitely not the right time. It’s too early. There will be no reopening and all business owners and we all have to be vigilant and we have to respect confinement ”.
Despite the lifting of the confinement scheduled for December 1, French finance minister Bruno Le Maire promised to review the situation to November 12: “We can reopen several stores if the health situation allows,” says the local press. And also announced EUR 20 million in additional aid for traders forced to close.
The closure of non-essential stores did not occur throughout the country. Some mayors of small French towns, such as Perpignan, Brive, Beaune, among others, challenged the central government and decided that they would not close the stores due to inequality in relation to large stores and online commerce sales. The French finance minister criticized the attitude of “some irresponsible mayors who go against the orders taken by the state” and said that they were “helping traders” but “putting the health of the French at risk”.
Although the attitude of some mayors has generated indignation to the government, the French Prime Minister acknowledged, however, that prohibitions on the sale of non-essential goods in large areas may not be enough and considered that the major beneficiaries of this decision could be online sales.
France announced a new confinement last Friday, which envisaged the closure of all non-essential services, including bookstores, restaurants, among others, due to the increase in cases of the new coronavirus – The country reached 45,570 cases last Sunday and 231 deaths.
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