Retail outlets in France could open May 11, but not bars and restaurants
The French government wants all retail outlets other than restaurants and bars to be able to reopen once a nationwide lockdown is lifted on May 11, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Thursday.
The government has said that not all businesses will be able to go back to work immediately once the lockdown, in place since mid-March to rein in the coronavirus outbreak, ends.
"We want all retailers to be able to open on May 11 in the same way out of fairness," Le Maire told France Info radio, 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 retail sector is among the hardest hit by the government-imposed closure of non-essential activities in place since mid March.
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.
Setting those two sectors aside, the estimate suggests that activity has yet to regain any momentum.
France has suffered the world's fourth-highest reported coronavirus death toll at more than 20,000, with more than 158,000 infections.
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