The government announced on Thursday the generalization of the curfew at 6 p.m. throughout the metropolitan area, from Saturday January 16, promising new aid to support businesses.
These exemptions will allow in particular “to return from work or to pick up children from school or nursery”. It will therefore “not be possible to go out for personal reasons”.
The restrictions also apply to businesses since “except for the exceptions linked to public service missions, all places, businesses or services open to the public will be closed at 6 pm”, the Prime Minister said.
In case of non-compliance with the curfew, a fine of 135 euros will be issued. It amounts to 200 euros in the event of a repeat offense. After three offenses in 30 days, it reaches 3,750 euros and can be accompanied by 6 months of imprisonment, indicates the website of the Ministry of the Interior.
Exemptions are provided for school and professional travel. Other reasons are also taken into account: travel “for consultations and care”, for “imperative family reasons” or to respond to “a judicial or administrative summons”.
In the event of an inspection, it is necessary to present a certificate of exceptional travel, proof of business travel or proof of school travel, duly completed, available online on the government website.
This measure would have proven its health effectiveness in the first 15 departments where the curfew was implemented at 6 p.m. on January 2. In these departments, “the increase in the number of new cases is two or even three times lower than in other metropolitan departments,” said the Prime Minister. “In its last opinion received last night and which will be made public very quickly, the Scientific Council has also confirmed the usefulness of the curfew in the fight against the pandemic”, also added Jean Castex.
The schools will therefore remain open. But indoor school and extracurricular physical and sports activities are suspended until further notice and the health protocol in canteens will be further strengthened.
To curb the spread of the British variant, a protocol to test up to a million children and teachers per month will also be put in place.
As for the universities, the tutorials in the first year will resume in half-groups from January 25. This measure will then extend, “if the health situation allows it, to students of other levels,” added the Prime Minister, expressing the “concern” of the government at the “deep feeling of isolation, but also the real difficulties pedagogical ”of the students.
At the same time, conditions for entry into France will be “strongly” tightened and border controls will be “reinforced”.
As of Monday, all travelers from countries outside the European Union will have to take a test before leaving, the prime minister said. Those affected will also have to make a commitment to self-isolate for seven days once they arrive in France, and then to repeat a second PCR test afterwards.
Border controls will also be tightened and negative tests required to reach several overseas territories.
About 20,000 new cases are recorded every day in France – more than 21,000 Thursday -, far from the 5,000 hoped for in mid-December by the government. And hospital pressure is not easing, with nearly 25,000 COVID-19 patients hospitalized.
After a sluggish and criticized start, the vaccination campaign will accelerate. From Monday, people with high-risk pathologies (chronic renal failure, cancer under treatment, organ transplants, people with Down’s syndrome, etc.) will be able to be vaccinated, ie 800,000 additional people.
This expansion does not call into question the planned opening of vaccination to all people over 75 years old. In total, 700 vaccination centers will be open on Monday and will all be able to make appointments for the next four weeks, assured the Minister of Health Olivier Véran.
Doses to vaccinate 2.5 million people in France should be available by the end of February, he added.
According to the latest report, more than 247,000 people have received their first injection, while France had last week one million doses of the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine.
On the economic side, the Prime Minister assured that the support mechanisms would be maintained “as long as it is necessary”.
“We are acutely aware of the weariness, the anger of the professions affected,” said Minister of the Economy Bruno Le Maire, who announced among other things that companies would have the “right” to benefit from one more year of repayment of government guaranteed loans. Fixed costs of closed businesses will be covered up to 70%.
If you are a boss who has taken out a loan (170,000 euros on average), you should normally already start repaying in a month and a half, next March. From now on, you have the right to request the postponement of this deadline for an additional year, and have nothing to repay before 2022. Please note, this postponement is not automatic, however. You absolutely have to ask your banker.
The solidarity fund, which makes it possible to receive aid for craftsmen, traders or independent workers, is also becoming more generous, with 4 billion euros per month. Several companies are concerned.
First, large structures, those with a turnover exceeding one million euros per month and which are under administrative closure (such as a chain of restaurants, hotels, several rooms sports, bowling alleys, or ski rental shops).
From now on, if you belong to this category, 70% of your fixed costs (rent, electricity bills and even taxes) can be covered by the fund, up to a maximum limit of 3 million euros over the first semester. of this year. And this aid is also cumulative with the other sums already coming from the solidarity fund.
The suppliers of restaurants and cafes, the “collateral victims” of the closures, are also concerned. If you are for example a fisherman, brewer, wholesaler or launderer, the enlargement of the solidarity fund now allows you to go from aid which was 10,000 euros per month to up to 200,000 euros.
Small reminder: to apply for this aid from the solidarity fund, you must go to the impots.gouv.fr site, and fill out the loss of turnover form on the home page. For declarations for the month of December, it must be online by noon on Friday, January 15. Payment is expected early next week, as promised by Bercy.
Traders and store managers, who will suffer from the general curfew at 6 p.m. from this Saturday, expressly asked the government to simplify and shorten the current procedure to open on Sunday, said Friday the representative of one of their federations. “We asked the government to completely liberalize the opening of stores on Sundays for those who wish,” said Jacques Creyssel, director general of the Federation of Commerce and Distribution (FCD), at the microphone of BFM Business .
The leader also argued that opening on Sunday would “from a health and economic point of view” “offset” the new restrictive measures announced by the government on Thursday. “Food shopping after 5:00 p.m. represents about 30% of turnover. There will be postponement. In some cases early in the morning, between noon and two. There will be delivery. But businesses will suffer: larger, shopping centers, hypermarkets, but also small clothing stores for example “, he added, nevertheless relieved to have escaped” a total reconfinement or during the weekend “.
“We will strengthen controls,” also confirmed this Friday on franceinfo Gabriel Attal, government spokesman, concerning the application of the gauge in supermarkets. The curfew from 6 p.m. will encourage the French to go shopping on weekends, which should cause an influx of customers.
The spokesperson admitted that he had noticed that some supermarkets did not control the tonnage of customers: “There are unfortunately always exceptions, structures that do not respect the rules. It should not be considered either that this “This is the case everywhere. But we will strengthen controls. This is what the Prime Minister announced,” he said. According to him, “several tens of thousands of checks” were carried out on establishments open to the public and in particular supermarkets.