BUSINESS: In Alsace, the German authorities ask French cross-border workers to stay at home due the growing coronavirus epidemic across Europe
- The Grand-Est region was declared this Wednesday “at risk” zone to the coronavirus by the Robert-Koch Institute, the German establishment responsible for the control and the fight against diseases.
- Consequently, the German authorities ask the French border residents to stay at home. How do they live with this situation.
- Some have had mixed reactions from their colleagues, others have come to terms with the situation but wonder how long it will last.
Achtung! With the coronavirus epidemic, French workers are no longer welcome in Germany. This is particularly true in Alsace on the border with our neighbours across the Rhine. The outbreak of the Haut-Rhin, which started from an evangelical meeting, which affects 467 people and left three dead in the Bas-Rhin alone at the last count established by the regional health agency on Wednesday, led the German authorities to declare the Grand-Est region a “risk” area.
The decision was made by the Robert-Koch Institute, the German institution responsible for disease control and control.
“My German colleagues looked at me strangely”
This is not an easy situation for the 160,000 cross-border workers who normally cross the border every day to work. Marie *, 45, a salesperson in a company in Oberkirch, around 30 km from Strasbourg, can testify to this. “When I got to work yesterday, my German colleagues looked at me strangely. My supervisor came to see me, asked me to look at the measures taken by the French authorities and to translate them for him. He posted the information on the company’s billboard. ”
Her colleagues carry her. “Some people wished me a“ good holiday ”, others said:“ See you in July ”. Once or twice, it’s okay, but after the twentieth time, I found it a bit heavy. Finally, management asked her to go home in the middle of the afternoon. However, the borders with Germany are not closed. “These are only recommendations, tempers the prefecture of Freiburg im Breisgau. We are following the directives of the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Social Affairs and Integration ”. Recommendations that are widely followed by employers, according to the testimonies that have come down to us.
Marion *, a teacher in the city’s Franco-German high school, was also asked to stay at home, even if she has lived there with her family for a few years. “The city is a bit deserted but there is no panic,” she explains. Even if people seem a little nervous. The management recommends that parents avoid travelling to Alsace.
“I don’t mind staying at home”
Jean *, 24, a salesperson in a company in the food industry did not even need to travel to work, he received the information after getting out of bed on Tuesday. “I received the message from a colleague who lives in Colmar telling me that he should stay at home,” he testified. I was a little jealous because it suits me to stay at home a little, it avoids long journeys. The same reaction in Marie. “I do 100 km round trip every day, so it’s true that I don’t mind staying a little bit at home,” she explains.
Jean learned in the afternoon that he too had to stay at home. “I was given a laptop to work remotely. Marie, unlike one of her French colleagues, is not yet equipped to telecommute. Jean takes advantage of this lull to take a break. “The trade shows are cancelled one after the other so the workload is less”. For the rest, it is the unknown.
Marion, who must stay at home in Friborg, makes her lessons available to students on the educational platform of the establishment and passes oral to future baccalaureate holders on Skype. “The headteacher was not very optimistic, he told us that the measures were probably going to last,” says the teacher. “We are in the most complete darkness, nobody knows how the situation will develop,” says Jean.