Bercy at the bedside of small shops before Christmas

On November 12, he first addressed them to them, aware that the words of the Prime Minister announcing the maintenance of the so-called “Non-essential”, for at least two more days, would plunge them into depression. The day before, he already had them “Dedicated” the 20 billion additional credits to the State budget voted in the National Assembly, recalling that their activity “Is essential to the nation”.

Not a day goes by without Bruno Le Maire speaking in one way or another to small traders, exhausted and angry since the announcement of the second confinement. To these shops which animate towns and city centers, and in particular to “Booksellers, jewelers and toy stores” who “Make almost half of their turnover in the two months of the end of the year”, the Minister of the Economy says he is aware that “The reopening is vital for them”.

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But the tenant of Bercy also knows that only the Covid-19 contamination curves and the occupancy rates of the intensive care services will ultimately decide the fate of these traders. In the event of a gloomy scenario that would force all sellers of non-essential goods to keep their curtain down, Bercy is quick to play the firefighters to save Christmas from the small business. Beyond the measures already announced such as access to the solidarity fund, loans guaranteed by the State, exemptions from charges or exemption from the payment of rents (in agreement with the lessor), Bruno Le Maire says he is looking at on the issue of stocks. Some have, in fact, like every year, ordered for winter clothes, Christmas decorations, jewelry, toys … which could be left on their hands after the holidays.

“We will adapt the device”

“If more help is needed on the issue of stocks, we are ready to look at it and grant it”, said the Minister of the Economy on November 9 during the program “What it costs” on BFM-TV. ” We look. Everything will ultimately depend on the date of reopening of the shops. And according to this basis, we will adapt the device ”, specifies a source at the Ministry of the Economy.

The “Whatever the cost”, launched by Emmanuel Macron in March, during the first confinement, however, seems close to reaching its limits. The preferred option at the Ministry of the Economy is not, or no longer, to flood professionals with subsidies but to get them back to work. In Bercy, as in Matignon, we are now aware that the pandemic is here to last and that it is becoming untenable to lock out the activity of hundreds of thousands of SMEs. The challenge is therefore to allow the reopening of these small businesses, even if the rest of the population remains confined.

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