Neighborhood grocers caught by the 6 p.m. curfew

Traditional relays of mass distribution stores which close in the middle of the evening, they are subject to the full force of the closure at 6 p.m.

«Yesterday I left with twenty euros», Sighs Naminata, manager of Ivory Market, a grocery store in northeast Paris. Never seen before for nocturnal grocers, a real institution in Paris, who usually help city dwellers until midnight or sometimes later and are now forced to lower the curtain at 6 p.m., due to the curfew in effect.

«Often in the evening, I can make two hundred euros, three hundred euros, ”explains Naminata. “To close at 6 p.m., it’s not easy“, Abounds Brahim, manager of the grocery store” Momoprix “, renamed” Momo “following a dispute with the chain Monoprix. He does not hide having already overflowed on the curfew “because we have to finish (serving) customers».

Relay for mass distribution stores that close in the middle of the evening, neighborhood grocery stores, often night owls in France, have been hit hard by the Covid-19 crisis since the establishment on January 16 of a curfew throughout the territory. , which forces citizens to rush home immediately after work, and which deeply shakes up their daily lives.

«There is a number (business) which is really down from before. It still represents 50% less figure, yeah! Because we tend to work in the evening», Explains Brahim. “It bothers us because we are used to coming late, at any time, and today we have to come before 6 p.m.», Notes Mamadou, a regular customer who has come to buy a bottle of gas from« Baba alimentation générale »in the twentieth arrondissement, which normally closes at 2 am.

“The essence of the grocery store is to be open until midnight”

«The essence of the grocery store is to be open until midnight (…). I tend to function a lot by doing little last-minute back-up shopping (…). Of course I don’t do it anymore (…) and therefore I spend more time making lists», Quipped Éléonore, a resident of the neighborhood, bottle of syrup in hand, for her son’s snack. At 80 years old, Irene told AFP that she prefers to do her shopping in grocery stores rather than in supermarkets in times of health crisis, but also to have “frequented the Maghreb a lot“And recognize a”friendly atmosphere».

In France, the National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE) has identified 16,748 general food stores, including 2,461 in Paris in 2019. Whether they are run by North Africans, Indians or Sri Lankans, c t’s the same story everywhere. With six fewer opening hours each day, that’s around 60% of turnover for the Khan establishment. “Grocery stores normally work well early in the morning and after 10 p.m.», Says Anu, another Turkish manager.

And at a time when a third confinement is envisaged in France, many of these small neighborhood grocery stores are still wondering how long they will be able to hold. “There is no one in the street, that’s a big problem. There is a lot of rent, there is Urssaf, there are taxes and I make someone work, I have no partial unemploymentSudrata, the owner of another store, sighs.

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