PARIS, Oct 15 — Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire promised €1 billion (RM4.8 billion) of additional support to help French companies cushion the impact of a nightly curfew in Paris and eight other big cities where the coronavirus is running rampant.
Le Maire also said that companies in the beleaguered hospitality industry would be exempt from social charges if their revenues crashed by more than 50 per cent as a result of the curfews.
The curfews are President Emmanuel Macron’s response to a dilemma facing countries across Europe: how to keep the economy running and protect jobs while slowing the spread of infections and taking pressure off the creaking healthcare systems.
“The new measures will cost about €1 billion over the duration of the curfew,” Le Maire told a news conference.
Le Maire also said he was asking banks to delay interest payments on state-guaranteed loans to struggling companies in the hotel, restaurant and events industries.
Prime Minister Jean Castex said people could break the curfew to travel to and from work, catch a train or plane, seek medical attention and even walk a dog — but an interior ministry exemption document would be needed in case of a police check.
France’s interior minister said 12,000 police would enforce the curfews in Paris, Toulouse, Marseille, Montpellier, Grenoble, Rouen, Lille, Lyon and Saint-Etienne. In all, the curfew order covers about 20 million people, almost a third of France’s population.
Anyone breaking the curfew will be fined €135. — Reuters