Wednesday, December 1

The government is considering closing supermarket shelves

A closed book section in a supermarket in Nice, at the end of October 2020. – Frederic DIDES / SIPA

In the name of “fairness” and health security, the government could decide to close the “non-essential” shelves of supermarkets, from culture to toys, rather than allowing small businesses to reopen as requested by entrepreneurs. and elected.

Prime Minister Jean Castex, who is the guest on Sunday evening of the 8 p.m. newspaper of TF1, could arbitrate this question, while the controversy mounts over the closure of small businesses during confinement. He could decide in favor of the closure of “shelves of products that are not essential” in supermarkets in order to “restore equity” with local shops, said Sunday the Minister of the Economy Bruno Le Mayor on BFMTV, while health authorities reported on Saturday 35,000 positive cases in 24 hours and 3,443 patients hospitalized in intensive care.

A hardening of the gauges?

The head of government held a videoconference on Sunday with professional federations (Medef, CGPME, Professional Union of Small Traders) as well as associations of local traders “to take stock of the measures implemented for containment”, Matignon told AFP.

These shelf closures could be accompanied by a hardening of the “gauges” of customers in supermarkets, according to Bruno Le Maire, that is to say the number of people admitted at the same time.

Closed until Christmas?

Hard hit in the spring, many merchants have entered with apprehension into this second confinement, despite an easing that allows them to remain open for the withdrawal of orders in stores. They are particularly worried about missing the Christmas period, to the benefit of online commerce and supermarkets.

The Confederation of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (CPME) assures us that “local commerce, already weakened by online commerce, is now in danger of death”.

The anger of booksellers, in particular, had crystallized on Friday around Fnac, which had the right to sell books as a supermarket. The group reacted by announcing Friday evening the closure of its culture departments for two weeks.

The government followed suit by announcing the temporary closure of all book and culture departments of supermarkets and specialized food stores, “for the sake of equity between supermarkets and independent bookstores”.

But many booksellers still demand to stay open: some have decided to defy the ban, others have mobilized to appeal to President Macron, with the support of many personalities. Several literary prizes have been postponed due to confinement and in solidarity with the closed bookstores, including the very prestigious Goncourt.

“Irresponsible” mayors

Mayors (in Perpignan, Brive, Beaune, Valence, Chalon-sur-Saône, Colmar, etc.) for their part issued decrees authorizing the opening of non-food businesses in their municipality, denouncing the “inequality” of treatment in the face of mass distribution and online sales.

Bruno Le Maire denounced Sunday “this handful of irresponsible mayors who take orders contrary to decisions taken by the State to protect the health security of the French”. These elected officials “think they support traders. In reality, they threaten the health of the French, ”said the Minister.

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