PARIS (AP) – The streets of Paris and eight other French cities were deserted on Saturday evening on the first day of the government-imposed 9 p.m. curfew which is expected to last at least four weeks.
The measure was announced by French President Emmanuel Macron to curb the resurgence of the coronavirus as new infections peaked at more than 30,000 per day. Macron said curfews were necessary to prevent local hospitals from becoming overrun.
In France, nearly 20 million people are covered by the curfew and strangely deserted scenes have been observed in Marseille, Lyon, Lille and Toulouse as well. The curfew runs until 6 a.m. every day. The country is deploying 12,000 additional police officers to enforce the new rules.
Many bar and restaurant owners have bristled to order. A multi-month lockdown to tackle the spread of the coronavirus in the spring has devastated the industry.
“I have the right to question the government’s approach. I think this is a catastrophic measure for the industry, ”said Xavier Denamur, owner of Les Philosophes and several other bistros in the chic Marais district of Paris.
Denamur said the curfew should not start until 11 p.m.
“At least it wouldn’t destroy us,” he said. “There is no evidence that this difference of a few hours will have any effect on the circulating virus.”
France has recorded more than 33,300 confirmed deaths in the pandemic, the fourth highest death toll in Europe.
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