On Monday, March 16, 2020, 35.3 million people watched President Emmanuel Macron talk about the Coronavirus. He said that people went out to the parks on Sunday after they were told to stay at home. It was a great sunny day. Therefore on Monday he ordered the parks closed.
People are quarantined at home for at least 14 days, but can go out after printing or writing by hand an authorization for the following reasons:
- To go to work if their work can not be done by telephone or Internet from their homes.
- To go to the stores to buy food.
- To go to the pharmacies.
- To go to walk their dogs, have short time for exercise near their homes and go to get their children at daycare centers which have fewer than 10 children in attendance.
There are 100,000 police patrolling the streets to give fines of from 38 Euros to 135 Euros for nonauthorized being out on the streets!
On Wednesday, 4000 people were given fines.
If the fines are not paid within 45 days the fines could go to the maximum of 375 Euros.
All restaurants are closed but they can provide takeout services. Even restaurants in hotels are closed but can provide food by room service. Bars and cafés are closed. Museums and libraires are closed. Stores that do not sell food are closed;
Only stores selling food are open.
Tuesday, March 17 was the first day these rules went into effect.
I noticed that people were out at the open air food market in Belleville, a neigborhood in Paris, but not the crowds we usually see. The sellers closed early and had special offers on vegetables in bags like 1 Euro per bag of apples or red peppers. One seller gave away grapes as he was closing.
There was a line of people waiting to enter the post office as some locations are closed.
At Chen supermarket, a Chinese supermarket, the personnel were wearing masks. The cashier said there were many people in the morning. Another Chinese supermarket had few customers.
People lined up to enter Lidl, an inexpensive supermarket. There was not the usual crowd but many less people; On Monday a limit to sell only 1 bag of sugar and 1 bag of flour per household went into effect.
Now paracetamol ( the medication that is recommended to relieve pain and bring down elevated body termperatures) is being sold in France only in the pharmacies and not on the Internet with a limit of 1 bottle per person who are asymptomatic and 2 bottles per person for those with symptoms of illnesses. These limits are for over the counter sales.
Sporting events have been cancelled or postponed such as the Roland Garros tennis tournament scheduled for this spring and will be delayed until October 2020.
L’EURO de Football, which is Soccer in English, will be in 2021.
All movie theaters are closed and all theaters for plays and concerts are closed;
Transportation is being limited to about 70% of buses and less frequent subway trains.
People are staying home but some are out; and about It did not appear that the people out on Tuesday had any medical concerns and did not appear to be scared. Very few wore masks. Instead of the usually very crowded subway cars, one could choose from several available seats.
The hospitals have canceled all surgeries except for emergency and cancer surgeries.
It is very hard on the people living in Paris because they may not be able to go to work and as they are forced to stay home. As the daycare centers and nurseries are closed, parents must take care of their children or find baby sitters which are in short supply.
The lively atmosphere of thre city has changed to one of just buying food and going for walks. Streets are almost deserted as people are staying home;
People who are outside their homes seem to be relaxed and not hurried.
When questioned, they said they were not scared of contracting the Coronavirus.
We in Paris are watching to see how the situation evolves.
89 people died from COVID-19 in a 24 hour period, from Tuesday to Wednesday.
Jane Rosenstein is a U.S. citizen living in Paris, France. She is a professional translator/interpreter. She is the owner of The International Connection which does international marketing consultation including sales of wine, interpretation, and translation. She enjoys the cultural life that living in Paris offers and has talents in organizing events. She speaks English, French, and Spanish.
She has a B.S. degree in mathematics from University of Pittsburgh and an M.B.A. degree from Georgia State University in Atlanta, GA.