the mayors ask Castex for a “gradual reopening”

The Association of Mayors of France (AMF) asked Prime Minister Jean Castex “the gradual reopening” of local shops, whose closure during the re-containment is criticized by many elected, in a letter made public Wednesday.

“It seems desirable to us to initiate a gradual reopening of local non-food shops,” wrote AMF president François Baroin to the head of government.

According to Mr. Baroin, this procedure “would prevent a massive return of customers to these establishments as the Christmas holidays approach, when it becomes inevitable to authorize the resumption of their activity”.

In its proposals to Mr. Castex, the AMF notably cites bookstores, florists, hairdressing salons and the clothing sector “which are in a position to apply a reinforced strict sanitary protocol and to welcome again public”.

The association also asks “to financially support the collective solutions of online platforms, carried by the associations of traders, local authorities and consular chambers, since the start of this crisis”.

After the closure of small businesses deemed non-essential, the AMF had already written to the Prime Minister to “reconsider the system of opening authorizations”.

She then asked “to clarify the rules, to restore a principle of equity between the various economic actors concerned and to preserve the future of many small businesses already weakened by the first confinement”, recalled its president.

The decision to close the small businesses had attracted much criticism from the mayors, a hundred of them going so far as to publish municipal by-laws to keep them open.

Cities of France, another association of elected officials, also wrote to the Prime Minister to ask him to reopen small businesses.

According to participants at the majority breakfast on Tuesday, Mr. Castex did not rule out a reopening on November 27. A decision will be taken “next week”, government spokesman Gabriel Attal said.

The government currently provides for the possibility of a reopening on Tuesday, December 1, if the Covid-19 epidemic continues to develop favorably.

But the executive is at the same time faced with the pressing demands of traders, supported by elected officials, in favor of a reopening from November 27, the day of Black Friday. An acceleration also pushed by the Minister of the Economy Bruno Le Maire.

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