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Letter from... Paris

28 May 2020

By Tanvi Jawadekar, Consultant, CLAI (Part of SEC Newgate)

Two weeks into the deconfinement process, Paris has slowly started regaining its colour and vivacity. It looks like the newfound freedom is here to stay. Although we’re still awaiting official confirmation, the hypothesis is that the Act One of the Government’s ‘deconfinement plan’ was largely a success and can continue to progress. And thus, as the sun shines down on the city, the streets are filling with people in bright summers clothes, little children carrying ice cream sticks, and the occasional late-spring blooms.

However, despite all these sights, one could not possibly be duped into thinking that everything is back to normal. Wearing masks and following strict sanitary protocol having been made compulsory across all public transport, even simple bus rides give a vague sense of living in a post-apocalyptic world. The original queues outside grocery stores are disappearing but those outside clothing stores and take-away restaurants are getting longer. Schools and Universities remain eerily empty. And most importantly, Paris’s beloved terrace cafés are completely missing from the scene!

At the closing of this second week of deconfinement, the government is set to announce the Second Act of the process. The Prime Minister will likely give further information on the reopening of bars, restaurants, and public parks which were tentatively supposed to open on the 2nd June We should also get to know more about the reopening of theatres, cinemas, and sports complexes. A decision might also be announced on the liberty of movement, for now limited to a 100kms. 

The Government’s announcements will mark another step in the return to a new normal dominated by physical distancing and sanitary protocol. In living their everyday pre-pandemic lives, but under these new norms, Parisians will make further progress in “learning to live with the virus.”