Behind a faded door, in an alleyway near Montmartre, a long, irregular queue begins to form. In Paris, locked up, hotels and restaurants may be deserted, but food banks are increasingly busy.
Women with strollers, men with umbrellas, each one meter apart; there are very few discussions.
The government will set out on Thursday how it plans to lift traffic restrictions on Monday. But for many, the damage caused by one of the most stringent locks in Europe has been caused.
The center, part of a network run by the charity Les Restos du Coeur (restaurants at the heart), saw a 40% increase in subscriptions last week.
Director François Coadour expects the numbers to continue to rise and says the profile of his clients is changing.
“We have workers, precarious workers, people who worked in the moonlight and part-time workers,” he told me. “These are people we have not seen before. “
Here, customers chose their own food from the shelves inside the center; now they are simply given a bag of goods through an open door.
I meet a young woman who is waiting in the queue, who presents herself as Madame Ouattara.
Even behind his mask, his face sported a sweet smile. She tells me that she started coming here last month after the lockout left her husband out of work. They ate with their savings in a few weeks.
What will happen to the French economy?
France’s biggest economic players have also been hit hard by the coronavirus: tourism, construction and industry in particular.
The economy fell by almost 6% in the first half of this year.
Philippe Martin, economist at the prestigious University of Sciences-Po and adviser to President Emmanuel Macron, explains that the construction industry in France has been hit more severely than in other highly confined countries like Italy, and that resumption of work conditions were also more difficult here.
But he also wonders whether financial support programs offered by the government, such as “partial unemployment benefits”, may also have contributed to slowing the economy: “Because this system was quite generous”, a- he said, “he may have pushed some companies to close rather than keep trying to produce, because the full salary was paid by the [government]. “
Others believe that the high losses suffered by France are a sign of its effectiveness in controlling the foreclosure.
We have medically started an artificial coma in all of our savings. And France is very good in this area because it is fully centralized
The impact on the future economy here is likely to be severe – the worst recession since World War II, according to the government.
It is also expected to hit Italy, Spain and Greece very hard.
Germany and Austria, on the other hand, seem to have escaped relatively slightly, causing some to wonder whether this crisis could create fatal cracks in the euro area.
Jean-Claude Trichet, who headed the European Central Bank during the last financial crisis, says he has already experienced this kind of “stress test”: “I was constantly told:” You are going to explode the euro, that’s fine evaporate, the eurozone will disappear, “he said.
“We have not disappeared, as you know, but on top of that, four new countries have decided to join the euro zone after [the collapse of] Lehman Brothers. The resilience of this historic project is very, very high, and I am absolutely convinced that it will be confirmed in the future. ”
How France will loosen restrictions on May 11
Prime Minister Edouard Philippe will detail the changes on Thursday. The plan is to divide the country into red and green zones, with different rules for different places.
The map above shows a large area of orange areas, and a decision will be made as to whether they will be green or red.
If conditions are met, the government said most stores will be allowed to reopen from Monday, and people will be able to travel freely up to 100 km (62 miles) from their homes.
It is also suggested that some small tourist sites in the green areas of the country may also reopen. But France’s borders will remain closed, as will its hotels and restaurants.
France recorded 25,809 deaths in hospitals and nursing homes, and reported 278 deaths Wednesday in the past 24 hours.
Paris is likely to be classified in red. Out of more than 23,000 hospitalized patients, nearly 10,000 are in the Paris region.
Geneviève Rossillon manages nearly a dozen tourist sites across France and says the country needs a “psychological boost” from the government.
“Obviously, when you hear what Italy said last week, they said” we are ready to welcome everyone this summer “,” she said. “This is not the message that France has been sending so far. “
France’s approach to lifting the closure may be localized, detailed and bureaucratic, but the message after nearly two months in detention is changing: don’t stay home.
A new mantra for the country’s economic health.
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