Closing of restaurants. In Marseille, the feeling of being punished

Through the voice of their main union, the restaurateurs of Aix and Marseille say to themselves “Very very angry” and feel that they are considered « menu fretin » after the government’s decision to close their establishments on Saturday.

Anger, resignation, fear of the economic consequences: in Marseille, a number of elected officials, restaurateurs and residents feel they are being unfairly punished. LR president of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region, Renaud Muselier, was the first to speak of a “Extremely hard collective punishment for the economy” local while the city of Aix-en-Provence is also affected by this measure.

“No consultation”

On the left, the mayor of Marseille, Michèle Rubirola, expressed his “Anger” on Twitter. “The violence of @ olivierveran’s announcements towards Marseille is not acceptable. There was no consultation ”, added his first assistant, Benoît Payan.

“We are very very angry because the least thing would have been that we were warned”, reacted Bernard Marty, president of the Union of trades and hospitality industries (UMIH) of Bouches-du-Rhône, the leading employers’ union of cafes, hotels, restaurants.

All denounce the change of paradigm whereas ten days ago, the Prime Minister had instructed the prefect of Bouches-du-Rhône to take measures in consultation with the communities.

“We put on the masks”

“We almost have the feeling that Paris considers that in Marseille, we are small fry and that there is no need to inform us what is happening in our city”, he added.

“We put on the masks if the State does not have the means to enforce the rules, that it does not use us”, he said again after a crisis meeting.

And Bernard Marty to wonder about the dramatic consequences of this closure announced for 15 days in “A city that no longer receives cruises, no more conventions, whose fair is canceled, after three months of confinement”.

Maximum alert

In the Marseille metropolis, now placed in a maximum alert zone, gatherings of more than 10 people in parks and on beaches had been prohibited and the gauge for major events had already been limited to 1,000 people in addition to the port of mask required.

Decisions “Concerted” recalls Renaud Muselier, who went in the direction of a “Crisis decentralization”. And which were beginning to bear fruit, he assures us, announcing a slightly lower incidence rate over one week (from 228 to 193 per 100,000 people).

“True anarchy all summer long”

On the Old Port on Wednesday evening, some came to share for the last time, before the scheduled closing on Saturday, a seafood platter, a glass or a bouillabaisse.

“I played the game I confined myself, I had to stop my professional activity and all that for that”, sighs Cathy Nardelli, who runs a tea room in another district of France’s second largest city.

“There has been real anarchy all summer”, many tourists having withdrawn to the French coast, especially in Marseille where attendance has increased sharply, and “The situation has deteriorated so much, therefore, there is a day when more drastic decisions have to be taken”, she observes resigned.

A lawyer traveling on business, Frédéric Goule fears he will not be able to come back to see his clients next month if the closure continues because he has no choice but to eat out. “I am not sure that this is the right solution, it is not because we do not go to the restaurant that the epidemic will not develop”.

“Economic reconfinement”

“I understand that the situation is out of control and that drastic measures must be taken, but in my opinion we must not further damage the economy because perhaps the solution will be worse than the Covid”, for his part, considers Fernando Alvarez Sanchez, Spanish engineer seated at La Caravelle, a historic bar with its terrace offering a bird’s eye view of the Old Port.

The Aix-Marseille-Provence Chamber of Commerce and Industry speaks of a “Economic re-containment”.

For young people, singled out for the spread of the epidemic, it is ” a nightmare “.

“It pains me a lot, I have just arrived in the city and going out is a way to meet people, to discover the city”, explains Tanya Duffort, 21, to AFP, who fears the proliferation of private parties.


“They are closing everything. It’s horrible. He should never have left all those rotten bars open ”reacts Astrid, 23, a business school student.

And in this concert of misunderstandings, the LREM deputy of Bouches-du-Rhône Saïd Ahamada prefers to blame local elected officials: “Easy to hit on the state when you haven’t done anything all summer to limit contamination”, he launched on Twitter.

But for Samia Ghali, deputy mayor, “The scarlet zone in Marseille is at the heart of its suffering hospital”, believing that the city does not need to be punished, but “To be helped”.


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