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23.04.2020 Europe

Retail outlets could reopen in France on May 11, but not restaurants, bars

© Reuters/Gonzalo Fuentes
LISTEN APR 23, 2020
© Reuters/Gonzalo Fuentes

French government is in favour of the reopening of all retail outlets once lockdown, in place since 17 March, is lifted. But restaurants and bars won't be able to reopen on 11 May.

"We want all retailers to be able to open on 11 May in the same way out of fairness," Economy minister Bruno Le Maire told France Info radio on Thursday, adding that it remained to be seen whether that would be possible nationwide or only region by region.

"I would only set aside restaurants, bars and cafes," he said.

The government had warned that not all businesses will be able to go back to work immediately once the lockdown, in place since mid-March to rein the coronavirus outbreak, would end.

The lockdown is still cutting economic activity by 35% more than a month since it was imposed, despite a slight pick-up in the industrial and construction sectors, the INSEE official statistics agency said.

The retail sector is among the hardest hit by the government-imposed closure of non-essential activities in place since mid March.

France has suffered the world's fourth-highest reported coronavirus death toll at more than 20,000, with more than 158,000 infections.

(with wires)

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