Restaurants will reopen “as soon as possible”, promises Emmanuel Macron

Restaurants and bars will reopen “as soon as possible,” Emmanuel Macron promised Wednesday on the occasion of the traditional galette des rois at the Elysée Palace.

“The virus will continue to weigh heavily in the coming weeks,” warned the Head of State, addressing bakers, pastry chefs and the best workers in France gathered in front of a 1.20 m wide pancake.

He promised to “give visibility” to the catering sector, in particular on the closure of bars and restaurants, which has been extended until mid-February. “2020 has been very hard for all of your businesses (…) You have suffered a lot,” he added.

“Supporting the most fragile treasuries”

France “is one of the countries which has protected those who work the most” by providing “massive and rapid support”, and “we must continue to do so, improving”, he assured. The aid system will be maintained when the health situation improves and it will be necessary to “support the most fragile treasuries (of companies)” during the phase of economic recovery, according to him.

“Without government help, many of us would have lowered the curtain,” said the president of the National Confederation of French Bakery and Pastry (CNPBF), Dominique Anract.

The French baguette soon at Unesco?

Despite the crisis, Emmanuel Macron was keen to maintain the tradition of the Epiphany, which has been held every year since 1975 at the Elysee Palace, where the galette des rois is never garnished with a bean. As a health precaution, the cake was not shared and tasted during the reception.

The Head of State welcomed the results of the apprenticeship reform, with 440,000 contracts signed last year, including 72,000 in the catering trade and 24,000 in bakeries alone.

Emmanuel Macron also pledged to defend UNESCO’s inclusion of the French baguette – “250 grams of magic and perfection” – as a world heritage site. It “is the image of France in the world”, underlined the president of the CNPBF, at the origin of the request in 2018.

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