Coronavirus: Parisian bar and restaurant staff stage mock funeral over lockdown measures

Parisian bar staff took to the streets of the capital last night to stage a mock funeral to represent the death of their industry.  

On Monday, French authorities put Paris on maximum virus alert and issued an order for all bars to close for 15 days as Covid-19 cases continue to increase in the capital. 

Footage and images from social media show bar staff carrying a coffin draped in a black cloth in silence along the street in the hip neighbourhood of the 11th arrondissement of Paris. 

Other ‘funeralgoers’ can be seen lifting smoke flares high in the air as the procession marches through the district. 

The people carrying the coffin then lay it on the ground, before unveiling the words ‘Bars, Restos, Clubs’ scrawled on the side of the box. 

Pictured: Restaurant and bar staff stage a mock funeral to decry the death of their industry in Paris last night 

Pictured: Restaurant and bar staff stage a mock funeral to decry the death of their industry in Paris last night

Pictured: Restaurant and bar staff stage a mock funeral to decry the death of their industry in Paris last night

Pictured: Restaurant and bar staff stage a mock funeral to decry the death of their industry in Paris last night

Pictured: Restaurant and bar staff stage a mock funeral to decry the death of their industry in Paris last night

Talel, manager of Le Petit Clou, a bar in the district, told actuParis the lockdown measures were the end of his business. 

‘After a particularly difficult year 2020 and three months of closure, we are once again forced to close for at least 15 days,’ Talel said.  ‘It’s the death of our business in a way.’ 

In addition to the funeral procession, Talel staged a suicide scene in the front window of his bar. 

Images from Le Petit Clou show a noose hanging from the ceiling and a knocked over chair lying on the floor.  

‘These are things that can happen when a trader is broke and in debt,’ he said.

The theatrical protest, organised by the Merchants Association of Oberkampf Village, Saint-Maur and Timbaud, took place to demand a series of measures for the hospitality industry from the government.  

Pictured: Restaurant and bar staff stage a mock funeral to decry the death of their industry in Paris last night

Pictured: Restaurant and bar staff stage a mock funeral to decry the death of their industry in Paris last night

Pictured: Restaurant and bar staff stage a mock funeral to decry the death of their industry in Paris last night

Pictured: Restaurant and bar staff stage a mock funeral to decry the death of their industry in Paris last night

Pictured: Restaurant and bar staff stage a mock funeral to decry the death of their industry in Paris last night

Pictured: Restaurant and bar staff stage a mock funeral to decry the death of their industry in Paris last night

Pictured: Restaurant and bar staff stage a mock funeral to decry the death of their industry in Paris last night

Pictured: Restaurant and bar staff stage a mock funeral to decry the death of their industry in Paris last night

Among the demands are compensation for operating losses since March and exemption from tax for the year 2020 until the coronavirus crisis ends.  

In France, ministers have already shuttered bars and imposed curfews on the country’s two largest cities – Paris and Marseille. 

Health minister Olivier Véran made a statement yesterday, announcing that Lyon, Lille, Grenoble and Saint-Etienne would go on maximum coronavirus alert level from Saturday.  

‘Unfortunately, the health situation in France continues to deteriorate,’ Veran said at his weekly COVID-19 briefing.

Cities placed on maximum alert level will also have to apply stricter health protocols in restaurants.

With the school mid-term holidays starting soon, Veran added no travel restrictions were on the agenda, while urging everybody to remain very cautious during family gatherings that are traditionally a feature of this vacation. 

The health ministry on Thursday reported more than 18,000 new confirmed cases for the second day in a row, far above the 7,500 per day level seen during lockdown in spring. 

Pictured: Restaurant and bar staff stage a mock funeral to decry the death of their industry in Paris last night

Pictured: Restaurant and bar staff stage a mock funeral to decry the death of their industry in Paris last night

Nationwide, the number of people in intensive care rose by 11 to 1,427. While that is well below the 7,148 high set on April 8 at the height of the crisis, the number of COVID patients is more than 30 per cent of the total in many big-city hospitals.

Hospitals in the Paris region moved into emergency mode on Thursday, cancelling staff holidays and postponing non-essential operations, as coronavirus patients made up close to half of all patients in intensive care units (ICUs).

‘Given the pressure on emergency room beds…I have asked medical institutions in the region to activate their emergency plan to mobilise all resources,’ Paris region health director Aurelien Rousseau said on his Twitter feed.

Two days ago, Rousseau said the number of COVID-19 patients in ICUs had already risen above 40 per cent and called on citizens to further reduce their interactions, saying that was the only way to reduce infections and lower pressure on the hospital system.

Elsewhere, in Spain, the country may have tamed its second wave of coronavirus infections without closing bars or imposing harsh local lockdowns, like those seen in Paris.      

A couple have lunch outside a bar in Madrid, Spain yesterday. Spain could have tamed its second wave of the virus after recording a reversal of their steep rise in infections

A couple have lunch outside a bar in Madrid, Spain yesterday. Spain could have tamed its second wave of the virus after recording a reversal of their steep rise in infections

Coronavirus cases are on the rise throughout much of Europe - thought Spain, previously the continent's worst-hit country, has now started to see its infection rate fall

Coronavirus cases are on the rise throughout much of Europe – thought Spain, previously the continent’s worst-hit country, has now started to see its infection rate fall

The country saw a steep rise in cases after it began reopening non-essential businesses in mid-May, around two weeks ahead of the UK, and had the highest infection rate in Europe throughout August and September.

But that trend has now started to reverse with infections falling to an average of 9,500 this week from 11,200 two weeks ago, despite the country keeping bars and restaurants open and largely avoiding local lockdowns – with travel bans that ministers had tried to impose on Madrid slapped down by the city’s highest court today.

The figures suggest that curbing the spread of infection is possible without shuttering bars and restaurants as the UK and France are planning to do, and that a downturn from measures that have already been put in place may be a fortnight away.

Measures adopted by Spain include 1am curfews on bars and restaurants, mandatory table service, strict social distancing, face masks both indoors and outdoors, and capacity limits in crowded public places such as beaches. 

Those living in Madrid will still be forced to comply with some lockdown measures starting today, including a six-person cap on gatherings and limits to restaurant, bar and shop capacity and opening hours.

However, these measures are not responsible for Spain’s falling numbers as they have not taken effect yet. Ministers are also urging people to comply with travel bans, despite them being ruled illegal.

European leaders will be keeping a close eye on Spain’s dropping totals as they grapple with how to curb infections whilst avoiding lockdowns of the kind seen earlier this year that devastated their economies.  

In Germany, health minister Jens Spahn also warned of a ‘worrying’ increase in infections after Germany’s daily case total rose by more than 40 per cent overnight, from 2,828 to 4,058.

‘Barely any other country in Europe has managed the crisis as well so far,’ he said, warning people not to ‘gamble away’ what they have achieved while sticking to rules such as mask wearing, hand washing, and social distance. 

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