Emmanuel Macron Expected by the French to Give a Direction and a Little Hope

General News
President Emmanuel Macron during a Defense Council at the Elysee Palace on November 12, 2020 in Paris.

The Head of State, Emmanuel Macron speaks again at 8 pm Tuesday 24th November to specify the contours of a reduction in confinement, one month before the Christmas holidays.

Emmanuel Macron again addresses the French at 8 pm Tuesday 24th November 2020 to ease the confinement a little and set the course in the health crisis linked to Covid-19, while the country is hoping for a breath of fresh air as the Christmas time.

The scenario is now well oiled: the Head of State has convened a defence council meeting, which ended shortly before noon, to make a final point of the epidemic before deciding the decisions he will announce in the evening in television.

There is no doubt that the French, affected by the confinement, will be there again, after the summits reached by his speeches which, for the most important, gathered more than 30 million viewers.

Confinement relief in three steps

This time, the uncertainty is less great because the general framework of the announcements is already known: the reduction of the constraints will be done in three phases : around December 1st, then before the Christmas holidays and finally at the beginning of 2021.

The Head of State promised that he would give “consistency, clarity, a course” to “know together where we are going and how to get there”.

But Prime Minister Jean Castex, who is expected to speak Thursday afternoon, warned Monday evening that these announcements would only allow “a slight easing of confinement”

“We expect the President to have prospects because society is terribly depressed,” ecologist Yannick Jadot said Tuesday on Europe 1. We will also need “vision”, claimed Laurent Berger (CFDT) on France 2, who fears that “The pressure cooker” does not explode in view of the economic and social situation. “The anger is there”, added Philippe Martinez (CGT) by evoking “dramatic situations: young people, precariousness but also all these employees with partial unemployment”.

Reopening of shops in the coming days

The cautious message Emmanuel Macron should deliver echoes that of most leaders of major European countries, such as Britain’s Boris Johnson, who warned on Monday that the restrictions would have to remain in place for several months.

Like their neighbours, the French would particularly like to be focused on vacations: will they be able to travel and reunite with their family? Probably, but with limits, a possible curfew and a call for accountability. New Year’s Eve “are Covid factories,” warned Jean Castex.

In Germany, the regions pleaded on Tuesday to limit the number of participants in the Christmas and New Year celebrations to ten people from several households.

In the meantime, Emmanuel Macron will lift the constraints on Christmas shopping by reopening so-called “non-essential” businesses such as bookstores or clothing stores. This reopening could take place as early as this weekend but with a reinforced protocol. The ski resorts will be fixed “in the next ten days”, Matignon promised.

A restaurant closed due to confinement, in a street in Paris on November 23, 2020
A restaurant closed due to confinement, in a street in Paris on November 23, 2020 (© AFP / Thomas COEX)

The travel certificate kept, what about the 1 km radius?

As requested by the Council of State, places of worship should also reopen, with respect for a gauge. Uncertainty remains for cinemas, theatres and museums, which also hope to be able to welcome the public as soon as possible.

Jean Castex, on the other hand, dampened the hopes of cafes and restaurants to reopen around December 1. “We can’t”, he regretted Saturday, saying he hoped “to give them visibility and support them”.

Expressing growing fed-up, several thousand traders and independents gathered in several large cities on Monday. “Restaurateurs, hoteliers, cafeterias, nightclubs, caterers and seasonal workers, we have been erased from the economic landscape,” denounced Danièle Chavant, President of the UMIH of Isère on Monday.

If the travel certificate should be kept, the uncertainty remains on maintaining the limit of a perimeter of one kilometre for travel. ”

We are not all equal when it comes to a radius of one kilometer. For example, there is an issue: allowing those who do not live near a park to go and breathe there.

Gabriel Attal – Government spokesperson

What vaccination strategy for the French?

Beyond the measures related to containment, Emmanuel Macron is eagerly awaited on the vaccination strategy of the French population, after the announcement on Monday of a third vaccine .

After the failures on the masks and the tests, the executive knows that it cannot fail on the subject, especially as the polls show a population sceptical about the interest of being vaccinated.

The curfew than the four weeks of confinement made it possible to slow the circulation of the virus this fall and to cross the epidemic peak of the 2nd wave.

With 4,452 new cases detected in 24 hours on Monday, this is the first time that this figure has dropped below the 5,000 daily case mark since September 28th. This objective of “from 3000 to 5000” daily contaminations had been set as a horizon to be reached by the Head of State in mid-October.

But the authorities are worried about the growing impact of the psychological consequences of the triple health, economic and social crisis, Emmanuel Macron evoking the need to fight the feeling of “an endless gloom”. The Director-General of Health Jérôme Salomon was alarmed last week of “a significant increase in depressive states”.

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