The photo shows a peaceful landscape in the middle of which a handful of passers-by stroll between small houses against a background of blue sky, with written in large: ” We are open. “At the beginning of February, on Facebook, the favorite social network of shopping centers, the management of” La Vallée Village “, in Serris, in Seine-et-Marne, informed its subscribers that the measure announced a few days earlier by the government was not was not about this open-air branded mall.

Since January 31, due to the health crisis linked to Covid-19, “Non-food shopping centers with an area of ​​more than 20,000 square meters, those which promote the most brewing”, are closed, in accordance with the announcements made by the Prime Minister, Jean Castex, January 29. The Minister of the Economy, Bruno Le Maire, had specified to the actors of the sector that this threshold was calculated “By adding all the surfaces of shops, food or not”, and that the open-air complexes that are the “Shopping areas, business parks and branded villages where the circulation of the public between shops takes place outside”.

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In the midst of sales – which will end on March 2 – customers of large shopping centers, who are unaware of their characteristics, are confused. The situation is all the more fluctuating as it evolves according to administrative decisions. Even today, an open shopping center can be closed overnight. Or open. Hence the message from “La Vallée Village”.

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Nearly 400 shopping centers out of 858 in France were affected by this new provision, considered by the professionals concerned as “An economic injustice”, a measurement “Gadget” targeting a ” scapegoat “. In order to avoid any misunderstanding in the calculations, a decree of January 30 specified that the “Useful commercial area” taken into account included “Sales areas, offices and reserves, without deduction of hopper or post”.

“We calculated, recalculated, exchanged with the prefects”

To this was added a circular, sent to the prefects by the Minister of the Interior on February 3, to specify that “Circulation spaces” between stores “Are not counted”, and that a certain tolerance is allowed to deduct from the total the shops “Which are not rented and exploited”. Everyone therefore took out their calculator. “We calculated, recalculated, exchanged with the prefects”, breath, annoyed, a center manager. Ikea announced the closure of all its stores as of January 31, with the exception of the one in Vélizy (Yvelines) and the design workshop in Nice.

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