Promise of season’s greetings as France lifts lockdown on Christmas trees

NOV 19, 2020 LISTEN

Florists in France have been given the green light to sell Christmas trees from Friday, in what many hope is a sign that the government is set to ease the Covid-19 lockdown and allow family celebrations to go ahead.

Agriculture Minister Julien Denormandie said the sale of sapins de Noël was to be limited to outdoors, to allow social distancing. 

"Many places where Christmas trees can be sold are already open, such as supermarkets and DIY stores," he said. "But for florists, outside sales can also be organised."

With the holiday season just around the corner, shop owners are keen on returning to business as usual.

The rate of new coronavirus infections has been falling since the second nationwide lockdown began on 30 October, sparking calls from business groups to let shops open as early as 27 November for the "Black Friday" mega sales that kick off the holiday shopping season.

The number of new daily infections on Wednesday came in at 28,383, with the average infection rate nearly halving over the past fortnight.

President Emmanuel Macron has said the number of daily cases must fall below 5,000 per day before the government could start significantly easing the latest restrictions.

(with AFP)