From Saturday, France will again go into a strict lockdown. The measures currently in force in one part of the nation will be extended to the entire country.
The new measures entail that all 150,000 non-essential stores in France will have to close again. The rules were already in place in 19 departments (mainly in the Paris region) but will be extended to the rest of France from 4 April. President Emmanuel Macron made the decision because the situation seemed to be getting out of hand. "If we do not take measures now, we risk losing control", the Belgian national broadcaster VRT quoted the president.
The month-long new lockdown will cost the French government an estimated 11 billion euros in compensation. This concerns costs related to the solidarity fund, unemployment benefits and exemptions from social security contributions, reports French weekly newsmagazine LSA.
The stricter measures will remain in place for at least four weeks. The president of France is hopeful that measures will be eased during the month of May. For example, the outdoor cafés might reopen under certain conditions.