MISS France sparked outrage after hosting an autograph signing event at a crowded shopping mall despite the Covid crisis in the country.
Amandine Petit, 23, met fans in Farebersviller in north-eastern France, with photos showing hordes of people attending the event and ignoring social distancing.
The winner of the contest has been criticized on social media with members of the public and celebrities expressing outrage over the move.
France is currently strictly closed with cinemas, restaurants and most shops closed and people should stay at home as much as possible.
The country is also currently being criticized for the slower deployment of the vaccine compared to its European neighbors.
French Prime Minister Jean Castex has promised that more vaccines will be approved by regulators by the end of March and that vaccinations will be stepped up with a new government target of 1 million vaccines by the end of January.
Castex is keeping the country on lockdown as the coronavirus is still spreading too quickly and hospitals remain under severe pressure.
France reported 21,703 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 on Thursday, up from 25,379 on Wednesday, but still far from the government’s target of fewer than 5,000 additional infections per day.
in France, the death toll is the seventh highest in the world, Covid-19 having killed 66,841 people across the country.
According to the French magazine Tele-Loisirs, this did not prevent the event from unfolding and after the backlash, the management of the Farebersviller shopping center apologized.
The bosses said the event was organized “in strict compliance with barrier gestures and health rules” with a “doubling of security personnel” to help the growing crowd resulting from the appearance of Miss France.
However, the shopping center also admitted to having been overwhelmed by the situation, declaring: “The success of this meeting resulted in a significant presence of visitors and generated, despite all the measures taken, a lack of respect for distancing physical that the management of the center could not control. ”
The manager of the mall, Barthelemy Jeanroch, is quoted Saturday evening in the local newspaper Lorraine Actu as having declared that he “did not expect it to be so many people”.
Actu also quoted the director admitting that if: “the staff did everything to ask the public to wear face masks, social distancing was not respected.”
He added: “There were around 500 people at this event. The photos don’t work in our favor, they give the impression that there were a thousand people. ”
The mall apologized for hosting the public appearance and said it would avoid hosting any other events until the health crisis was resolved.
The director of the organization Miss France, the former model Sylvie Tellier, 42, first responded to criticism in the newspaper Le Parisien last Sunday.
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The former beauty queen has said there is no question of locking up Petit during her year in reign.
Then, after explaining that the event was not organized by the Miss France committee and that the management of the event was not her responsibility, she assured that all security measures had been taken.
Questioned again Monday by the French news channel BFMTV, Ms. Tellier maintained that there had been no management failure, but admitted that some people had come a little closer.
It is not known whether authorities have opened an investigation or whether fines have been imposed.