Queues crept past barber shops and department stores selling Christmas gifts and decorations on Saturday as France partially reopened after a month-long lockdown.
Stores selling non-essentials such as shoes, clothing and toys reopened in the first loosening of national restrictions since October 30. Bars and restaurants remain closed until January 20.
Remi Thor, a hairdresser from central Paris, said: “Today we have people who have been waiting for weeks while others are coming now to make them look good for Christmas, because we don’t know. never what will happen next.
A hairdresser from J-Coiffeur in western Paris said that despite their online reservation system, people showed up without a reservation anyway and lined up outside. “Under the current rules, they cannot wait inside,” he said.
Spring – which has 19 luxury department stores with a total area of 180,000 square meters – closely followed attendance.
“Pierre Pelarrey, director of the Printemps Paris Boulevard Haussmann flagship store, said:” We are calculating traffic in real time to make sure we are within the limit on the number inside, “he said.
As a condition of reopening, the government reduced the number of people allowed in stores. Many small business owners complained that it was difficult to operate under the new rules and said traffic was slow as customers postponed their purchases to Black Friday, which was delayed for a week until December 4 in France.
The deputy mayor of Paris, Emmanuel Grégoire, told local radio that the mayor, Anne Hidalgo, would speak with retail organizations to allow them to open on Sunday to make up for lost sales.
“2020 will be a catastrophic year for everyone, but to limit the damage, December will be crucial,” he said.
The government has allowed stores to open until 9 p.m. so they can receive more customers despite capacity limits.
At Pasteur Hospital in Nice, where the intensive care unit is operating at twice its normal bed capacity due to Covid-19 patients, intensive care manager Carole Ichai said she hoped people would be responsible .
“I hope we will not regret this opening. The owners are making an effort, now everyone must take their civil liability seriously, ”she said.