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France is still seeing 6% gross domestic product growth this year, even after new lockdown measures took effect in Paris and other regions on Saturday to contain the coronavirus.
“I confirm our ambitions to achieve 6% growth in 2021,” said Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire in a radio interview on France Inter. “As we lift the restrictions, our ability to bounce back is extraordinary.”
Parts of France have been hit by a new border attack on Saturday, affecting around a third of the population. Businesses and essential schools will remain open, unlike previous stricter lockdowns, with measures to remain in place for four weeks.France has been under a nighttime curfew since mid-January, but the infection rate has climbed despite everything and hospitals are under increasing pressure. Like other European countries, France has suffered a relatively slow deployment of vaccines, delaying the prospect of an economic recovery.
The government has said about 90,000 “non-essential” businesses will be closed, in addition to department stores, cultural and sporting venues that have been closed for months. Yet booksellers, hairdressers, hardware stores, chocolate makers, florists and car dealerships can remain open, fueling complaints from businesses that were not deemed “essential.”
The Mayor sought to justify the exemptions, saying chocolate factories were dependent on the upcoming Easter season and car sales were important to support workers in French auto factories.
The new restrictions have led to some confusion, with interurban travel banned for the 20 million French people in lockdown, although travel by until 30 kilometers are allowed under certain circumstances. The online form listing all exemptions was not available on Saturday morning.
The Mayor’s office estimates that the new limits will reduce annual economic output by 0.2 percentage point. Support measures for closed businesses will cost an additional 1.2 billion euros ($ 1.4 billion) per month, bringing the total to 7.2 billion euros.
The Mayor also said the state would grant a loan of 20 million euros on Monday to help Liberty Steel sites owned by GFG Alliance Ltd. in France to pay salaries, suppliers and to guarantee the continuation of the activity. Sanjeev Gupta’s GFG was affected by the collapse of its largest lender, Greensill Capital.