Sunday, June 21, 2020

Your Disco Needs You!

A summer in the French Riviera without nightclubs?! C'est impossible!

It appears Coronavirus has struck again, this time with the nightclub world. As we moved forward in France to "Phase 3" of the restrictions being lifted, one thing stayed the same. All nightclubs in France had to stay closed and now it appears that rule may stay into affect until September sometime.

As understandable and sad as it is, especially because in the summer months the LGBTQ nightclubs (and nightlife overall) is one of the most interesting, fun activities to do here as it is an extremely big part of the social life here in France. But then again, being social in a pandemic is not a good thing.

Currently bars are allowed to be open, but only if they have a terrace where people can social distance or if you can go inside, a mask must be on at all times. There have been cruising bars that have opened and even the gay bathhouses but again, it depends on how they are regulated in their city, laid out internally and of course with many safety precautions in much as that can allow for anyway.

Needless to say, nightclub owners are upset and a movement has begun to try and at least have limited openings with a certain amount of people in attendance while adhering to safety measures.

As one nightclub owner wrote as part of a press statement (translated):

"The Government signs the death warrant of the nightclubs. Night professionals are in complete incomprehension vis-a-vis the improbable decision which was taken yesterday by the Government and the health services to keep closed the night clubs until September.

In this same decision, it is stated that sporting events and performance halls are authorized to accommodate between 1,500 to 5,000 people maximum; it's more than what discos welcome! In France, there are 40 nightclubs that can accommodate more than 1,000 people.

The profession is on edge and wonders about this injustice between what is authorized for an athlete or a performance hall and prohibited for discotheques.

How is it that we keep closing nightclubs or bars at night, even though the prefect of Paris authorizes 4 demonstrations today or that football matches will again take place with thousands of spectators?"

So it's alright for one type of entertainment but not for another. Overall there seems to be a lot of confusion as to how the government came to these decisions, especially when you see in person a restaurant full of patrons in the evening yet literally next door a nightclub the same size has to remain closed.

In my personal opinion the government has done a tremendous job with Covid19 and it has actually been amazing to experience people abiding by all the rules so we can get back to whatever normal is as soon as possible. Safety first, just the line seems a little blurred in this case.

Time will tell though as new changes on restrictions are to follow in the next week or two.

The French Riviera is a great place for trying out new ideas so perhaps all the dancing will be done on the streets this summer!

Monday, June 15, 2020

June Covid19 Deconfinement Update

Needless to say, it’s been a confusing time for not only travelers but also for those of us living in France with both not being certain of what is coming next due to the Coronivus pandemic along with who and what countries will be allowed to cross the border into France for either business or pleasure.

As of last night, June 14, 2020, President Macron indicated in his speech to the country what would be steps would be coming next.

Besides what is happening now with the pandemic and how far we have all come, along with the economy, it was announced what countries would be allowed past our borders.
Here is the main confirmation people have been waiting for as France is now in Phase 3 of the lockdown:

From June 15th France has reopened its borders to travelers from within the EU, UK and Schengen zone with no more need for international travel permits.

People traveling from the UK are "invited" to quarantine in a mirror of the UK's quarantine restrictions, but in France this is optional.

However, for people wanting to travel from outside Europe the restrictions remain in place until at least July 1st.

This will continue to be dependent upon how each country is doing with the containment of Covid 19.
It is extremely exciting that people are allowed to visit the beautiful country of France again but please keep in mind there are still various basic rules to follow, such as:

1. No public gatherings of more than 10 people
Seems tricky but it can be done and the better we all progress the sooner this gets lifted.

2. Masks
Masks are compulsory on all forms of public transport (including taxis) and in many shops and public buildings.

Masks are not compulsory in public spaces like the streets, but are advised, and in spaces such as beaches, parks and gardens local authorities can decide whether to make them compulsory or not so check out the signs at the place you are visiting.

3. No getting closer than 1m
The advice for social distancing and hygiene measures in France remains unchanged - people are asked to follow basic health advice including not getting closer than 1m to other people, washing their hands frequently, using hand gel and coughing into their elbows. It really seems to have become second nature here for the most part.

4. No cinemas
Although a lot of venues are reopening not all have been given the go-ahead just yet, with cinemas set to reopen on June 22nd. Word is nightclubs may be allowed to open at this same date but with a limited number of people allowed in attendance.

Bars, cafés, restaurants, tourist accommodation and museums have all now been given the go-ahead to reopen fully after the whole of mainland France became a 'green zone' on June 15th.

Venues are obliged to put in hygiene measures and ensure that their customers and staff can safely social distance, so some businesses are not reopening straight away while they put the extra measures in place.

5. No sports matches or concerts
Mass gatherings of more than 5,000 people are still banned and are unlikely to come back before September. This means that concerts at bigger music venues are still banned, as are professional sports fixtures.

6. Attestation on the Paris Metro
If you're in Paris and traveling on public transport at rush hour, who will need an attestation stating that your journey is for essential work-related reasons. Outside of rush hour (7.30am-9.30am and 4.30pm-7.30pm) there is no requirement for a form.

This rule runs until June 22nd.

7. No cars (in some streets)
If you're in Paris, watch out for changes to the traffic rules as local authorities have declared many streets off-limits to cars. Some of them have been closed to allow café terraces to expand while others - like the Rue de Rivoli - have been turned into bike lanes to encourage more people to take up cycling and stay off the crowded public transport. This has also happened in a lot of local cities such as in Nice and Cannes.
I encourage everyone to come and visit, just take those one or two extra steps of caution so that as a whole community we can continue to fight this virus together.

Stay safe.