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Letter from... Paris


By Gauthier Bencheikh

Once again, many things have changed since the last letter. For the first time in months, the French actually hope to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Indeed, Emmanuel Macron granted an interview to the media on Friday, April 30, to detail the four-step plan for the end of lockdown.

We are starting to see the benefits of this third containment! All departments are currently below the threshold of incidence rates, set at 400 infections per 100,000 people. Olivier Véran, Minister of Health, stated that "the epidemic is decreasing between 20% and 25% each week", which gives hope to the French who are finding it increasingly difficult to bear the restrictions imposed.

This decrease in the number of infections has allowed the Government to launch the end of lockdown plan, announced by the President. Indeed, the first phase, from May 3, allows French people to move around in all regions of France. The aim is to allow everyone to enjoy the Ascension break (bank holiday on May 14), and to go and recharge outside the cities. The SNCF (French railway service) recorded a large number of ticket reservations following the announcement. However, the curfew is still maintained at 7pm, and restaurants cannot reopen yet.

In addition, reservations for accommodation have increased in recent days. Compared to 2019, the number is 25.7% higher. It appears that the French have mainly booked to visit the seaside, to enjoy the sea air and lapping waves.

The atmosphere in Paris is shifting, with the announcement of a new deconfinement. Restaurants and bars will be allowed to reopen their terraces in mid-May, and then completely in June. If you walk around Paris, you can see that restaurant owners cleaning the tables, washing the windows, painting, etc.

As far as vaccinations are concerned, the numbers are accelerating. New people are admitted daily, giving hope for a slightly more normal summer than expected. From June, vaccination will be open to everyone, from 18 years old, without illness or cases requiring special attention.

The most highly anticipated date of this plan is undoubtedly June 30, because it will allow the population to return to an almost normal life. Indeed, the curfew could be lifted and the maximum gauges no longer be in force, even if barrier gestures will remain the norm.