Month-long curfew begins in Paris, 8 other French cities
Published: 01:25 PM, 17 October 2020
French restaurants, bars and cafes faced a busy evening before a month-long curfew started at midnight on Saturday in Paris and other major cities. - Reports BBC
The controversial night curfew is aimed at curbing the soaring coronavirus infection rate in France, which is one of Europe's coronavirus hotspots.
The full curfew begins on Saturday, from 21:00 to 06:00 every night. The Paris region and eight other cities are affected, including Marseille, Lyon, Lille and Toulouse.
About 20 million French people are covered by it, but mayors in some towns - notably Le Touquet and Creil in the north - have also announced curfews to prevent a knock-on effect, as frustrated revellers seek somewhere else to meet.
Le Touquet is on the coast west of Lille, while Creil lies just north of Paris and was badly hit by the first Covid wave in March.
French BFMTV said La Boîte aux Lettres, a restaurant in Paris's popular Montmartre district, had received a flood of bookings for Friday evening.
The manager, Antonin Prion, said: "I hope this [curfew] has an impact and isn't in vain, because this is really doing us damage."
There have been bitter complaints from restaurant owners, already suffering after the two-month lockdown in spring, when the pandemic swept through Europe.
"I've never seen anything like this in the 50 years I've been here," said Stain Roman, a restaurateur in Marseille, quoted by AFP news agency.
Currently, the government advises them to restrict each table to six people maximum. They are also observing strict hygiene rules and collecting customers' contact details for track-and-trace. - BBC