French mayors seek to sidestep lockdown laws in order to protect local business

All non-essential shops must close for 15 days - but 50 mayors aren't playing along.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Protests in France (illustrative)
Protests in France (illustrative)

As France enters a second lockdown, the French government is seeking to minimize opposition to the stricter regulations, with promises to support local businesses and not let them be swamped by competition from giant international companies such as Amazon, companies that have seen their profits skyrocket over the past months.

Across Europe coronavirus cases are rising, paralleled by public discontent with the way their governments are (mis)managing the crisis. Eager to avert the worst of popular protests as non-essential stores are ordered to close for the next 15 days – and possibly longer – mayors in around 50 towns and cities across France have brought in local edicts permitting stores to remain open, Reuters reports.

French Minister for the Economy Bruno Le Maire said on Sunday that such actions were “irresponsible” and posed a risk to public health. However, he did promise that around 100 million Euros ($116.47m) would be allocated to small businesses, in order to help them establish and build up online operations.

“It shouldn’t be that Amazon, let’s say, emerges as the big winner of this crisis at the expense of local shops,” Le Maire told BFM TV. All the same, he said that the government was considering blocking off supermarket aisles where non-essential goods were stocked.

For its part, Amazon stated on Saturday that it would be withdrawing advertising for pre-Black Friday discounts in France, after French government officials stated that it would be “inappropriate” during a time when other retailers were being hard-hit by the coronavirus and its fallout.

Meanwhile, French writers, literary figures, and publishers have launched online petitions, demanding that the government exempt bookstores from lockdown regulations. In Paris, mayor Anne Hidalgo insisted that bookstores must remain open, along with many more of the city’s shops.