PARIS (AP) – As the winter sun sets over France’s Champagne region, a countdown clock begins.
Workers stopped pruning the grapes when the light faded around 4:30 p.m., left for 90 minutes to enter the cold weather, change work clothes, jump in the car and zoom home before the 6 p.m. coronavirus curfew.
Forget about after-work gatherings with friends, after-school clubs for the kids, or evening shopping in addition to the quick commute to find essentials. The patrol police wanted the right reasons from the people they saw. For those without them, the threat of fines for the breaker curfew is making life off weekends work and not play.
“At 6pm, life will stop,”; said Champagne producer Alexandre Prat.
Trying to eliminate the need for a third nationwide blockade, which would affect Europe’s second-largest economy and put jobs in danger, instead, France chose to announce a curfew. A large group of eastern France, as well as most regions bordering Belgium, Germany, Switzerland and Italy, live within the 6pm to 6am movement restrictions, with the 12-hour curfew being the longest. In 27 EU countries
From Saturday, the rest of France will follow the Prime Minister’s announcement to extend the curfew from 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Thursday to cover the entire country, including the zone that is scheduled to return home every night.
Shops in France will close at 6:00 PM. Outdoor activities will stop except for a quick pet walk. Workers are required to have employer records to travel or move to work after curfew.
People who have been living with longer curfews in the past few weeks say they are often bad for business and the rest of their anemic social life during the outbreak.
Until a couple of weeks ago, the nightly curfew didn’t begin until 8 p.m. in Prat’s region, The Marne, where customers continued to drop by for his family’s sparkling wine on their way home, he said. But when the closing time was 6:00 pm to slow down the virus infection, the drinkers disappeared.
“Right now we have no one,” said Prat.
The village where retired Jerome Brunolt lived alone in the Burgundy wine region was in a zone, which had closed at 6:00 PM. The 67-year-old said his solitude was heavier by There was no opportunity for an evening drink, nibbling and chatting with friends, the so-called “apero”, a reunion loved by the hasty French. But it was still possible when the curfew began two hours later.
“With a 6pm curfew, we couldn’t go to friends for a drink anymore,” Brunault said. “Now, I spend all day talking to none other than the baker and someone on the phone.”
By extending the 6pm curfew nationwide to at least 15 days, the government aims to limit the infection in countries with more than 69,000 known virus deaths.It also wants to slow down the spread of the virus it spreads. Spread across nearby Britain where new infections and virus deaths are on the rise.
The previous curfew has been fighting the spread of the virus “precisely because it serves to limit the social interactions people can have at the end of the day, such as in private homes,” said French government spokesman Gabriel Attal.
Elsewhere in Europe, curfews start later and usually finish earlier.
The curfew in Italy runs from 10:00 PM to 5:00 AM, as is the curfew on Friday through Sunday morning in Latvia. The French-speaking region of Belgium will have a curfew from 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., while in Belgium’s Dutch-speaking region, the hour is midnight to 5:00 p.m.
People going out between 8 PM and 5 AM in Hungary must be able to provide written evidence from the police from their employer that they are working or on the move.
There are no curfews in Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Ireland, Lithuania, Malta, Sweden, Poland or the Netherlands, although the Dutch government is thinking whether a curfew will slow down new COVID-19 cases.
In France, critics of the 6 p.m. curfew say earlier times will bring more people to gather after work when they sit on public transport, clogging the streets and shop for groceries in the windows. The narrow rush hours before they have to go home
Women’s rugby coach Felicie Guinot said negotiating rush hour traffic in Marseille turned into a nightmare. The southern French city is one of the places where the virus has spread more.
“It’s a scramble for everyone to be able to get home by 6pm,” Guinot said.
In the historic Besançon, the fortified city of Victor Hugo, owner of the “Les Misérables” music shop, Jean-Charles Valley, the 6pm deadline means that the deadline for 6 p.m. People will no longer stop by to play guitar and other instruments after work.
“People are totally terrified,” said Valley.
In Dijon, a French town known for pungent mustard, two working mothers of Celine Bourdin say her life has narrowed down to “leave the kids at school and go to work, then go home, help the kids with homework and prepare. Dinner “
But even that cycle is better than repeatedly leaving France at the start of the outbreak when schools are also closed, Bourdin said.
“If my child doesn’t go to school, it means I can’t work anymore,” she says. “It’s very difficult to get stuck in the house most of the 24 hours a day.”
Lester reports from Le Pecq, France, AP journalists across Europe contributed.
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