Action, Babou, Gifi … In Full Confinement, Why These Stores are Open in Seine-Maritime

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Despite the confinement, the Gifi stores in Seine-Maritime are still open.

To the astonishment of consumers, the Gifi, Babou and Foir’Fouille stores are open in Seine-Maritime in this second confinement. Is it legal? We take stock.

It is a total blur. Since Friday, October 30, 2020, the date of the second confinement, stores that are colloquially called “discount stores”  such as Gifi, Babou, Action, Foir’Fouille etc. are open, to the amazement of consumers.

Those installed in shopping centres are closed – since these centres are closed to the public – but the rules are not clear to others.

Only the essential shelves open, the rest in drive

“We have trivialized the non-essential departments that operate in click and collect and we have left our so-called essential departments open: animal feed, hygiene, DIY, etc., explains an employee at the reception desk of the Gifi store in Barentin, near Rouen (Seine-Maritime). Our management sent a letter to the prefecture to explain our new organisation so that we can remain open in this form. ”

But Gifi employees are aware of flirting with the red line: “If the police arrive and tell us to close, we will,” said this employee. It happened to other stores in France. But our CEO told us not to get down on the knee right away. ”

In discussion with the State

The GIFI release service provides to be in discussions with the government on the modalities for implementing the decree announced by Jean Castex Sunday 1st November 2020 during talks in the log 20 hours of TF1. “We should know more at the end of the day”, indicates the management of Gifi.

Same situation for Babou, in Gonfreville-l’Orcher, near Le Havre, where the so-called essential categories are displayed which can be sold directly: food, cleaning, maintenance, personal care, DIY, automobile, seeds, gardening, communication/multimedia, pet shop, Christmas (this last category is not mentioned anywhere in the Prime Minister’s announcements).

Are discount stores large surfaces?

At the Foir’Fouille de Pissy-Pôville, “we were open all weekend and today (Monday, November 2, 2020, Editor’s note) , we are still open but we are waiting for the new directives,” sighs an employee.

As for the Action stores, they closed Friday, October 30, 2020. But since Monday, November 2, most of the stores that are installed outside shopping centers have reopened, however, only offering “essential products, as defined by the authorities public ”, indicates the press service.

“In stores, we have reduced our customer base to one customer for 7 m 2  . An audio announcement is broadcast every 15 minutes to remind our customers of the barrier gestures ”, indicates the Action press service.

Open whatever the cost

Can discounters be considered as supermarkets and apply the same rules as supermarkets? Management hope to be able to fit into this box, by opening only a few essential departments. These stores are therefore open, awaiting feedback from the authorities on their somewhat wobbly situations.

Even if some of the employees interviewed recognize that with all these non-essential departments closed, “there aren’t many departments left open”, the management seems to want to open whatever the cost …

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