France has reportedly refused to go into total isolation amid the coronavirus outbreak as cafes and restaurants witnessed hundreds of people chatting and smoking on the terraces and streets. Even though neighbouring countries like Italy and Belgium have gone under lockdown, the French government chose to stick to its vibrant social life, only asking citizens for social distancing, confirmed reports.
According to the reports, President Emmanuel Macron announced in a Television address that all schools and public gathering premises will remain suspended for activities and urged people to avoid close contact. However, no such measure was seen adopted across countrywide. While some cafes chose to shut down businesses, most were seen brimming with visitors, seated around sipping coffee and chitchatting.
Alexandra Baronnet, a manager of a large business, told the French media reporters that it was too stressful an atmosphere to consider closing everything and staying at home. He said that people were careful to follow preventive measures but have to stay in contact. It's important in life, he added. He further added saying that he was worried by the idea of not being able to go to the cinema, restaurant or theatre, or even seeing friends. It was essential. The Italian approach cannot be applied in France, he emphasized.
Italy, meanwhile, the country with the highest impact from the novel coronavirus, the epicenter in Europe, instructed all its bars, restaurants, and other entertainment activities to mandatorily cease activities. The number of cases in Italy has lately spiralled and hospitals are struggling to control the situation, as per the reports.
Young French executive Clemence Guillern, whose company asked employees to work from home, told the media reporters that she was not alright with the latest developments. She said that despite working from home, the company was going to steal few moments to have lunch together with the colleagues in a restaurant. She said that the measures announced by President Macron were aimed to curb the spread among the elderly and her generation would be careful but would continue to have a social life.
Reports revealed that some cafes like the Monnier's, and Le Cafe Tabac in Montmartre district of Paris still sneaked in customers to get takeaway meals and gather outside, chat, smoke a cigarette, and drink their coffee. Frederic Monnier, a cafe's owner, said in media reports that people did not want to stay-in, his outlet was involved in catering to the public needs.