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Covid-19: what impact will containment have on the different sectors of the economy?


“The economy must neither stop nor collapse”. When announcing the establishment of new containment to fight against the resumption of the Covid-19 pandemic in France, Wednesday, October 28, Emmanuel Macron warned that there was no question of imposing on the he French economy has come to a halt as important as last spring.

>> Covid-19 and containment: follow the latest information live with franceinfo

“There is no prosperous economy in a degraded health situation with an actively circulating virus”, however recognized the Head of State, aware that many sectors would be weakened by these new health restrictions. Asked by franceinfo on Thursday, the vice-president and spokesperson for Medef Fabrice Le Saché also compared the effects of confinement to those of a “bazooka”, which according to him should destroy between “50 and 75 billion” of riches. But will all sectors be affected in the same way by this measure? Response elements.

Those who fear the coup de grace

• Sectors of culture, events and performing arts. Already greatly tested by the spring confinement and then by the introduction of the curfew in the fall, companies in these sectors have no other choice but to lower the curtain during the confinement, confirmed Thursday the Premier. Minister, conceding that the suspension of these activities “is very [douloureuse] but necessary to ensure effectiveness “ anti-Covid measures. Asked by franceinfo, Guillaume Husson, general delegate of the Syndicat de la librairie française (SLF) recalls that Amazon’s activity will always be as lively, and invites the Head of State to let booksellers continue their activity, recalling that weeks leading up to the holiday season were crucial for their industry.

Bookstores do not have sufficient reserves to cope with a drastic drop in their turnover.

Guillaume Husson, general delegate of the French Bookstore Union

to franceinfo

• Small and medium-sized businesses and “non-essential” businesses. The employers’ organizations which represent small businesses, forced to close their doors when their activity is deemed “non-essential”, denounce an “inequality of treatment” with mass distribution. “If the health reason for such a measure is to limit social interactions, why are supermarkets and hypermarkets not subject to the same ban?”, reacted Wednesday evening in a statement the Union of local businesses (U2P), which represents traders, craftsmen and liberal professions.

“The support measures must be equal to the sacrifices that are asked of these people”, exclaimed on RTL the president of the Confederation of small and medium-sized enterprises (CPME) François Asselin. In particular, CPME is asking for a measure on rents and is impatiently awaiting the announcement by the government of a tax credit for landlords whose tenants cannot pay rents.

• The hotel and catering industry. Emmanuel Macron may have called the French to “[soutenir] companies that, near you, have innovated through remote orders, take-out or home delivery “, professionals in the catering sector approach reconfinement as a real ordeal. The media chief Philippe Etchebest did not mince his words at the microphone of the LCI channel.

We are really in shock, this new imposed closure is a coup de grace, a killing of many very small businesses, but also of sectors which depend on us. This is terrible.

Philippe Etchebest

at LCI

Quoted by France 3 Bretagne, Hubert Jan, restaurateur and president of the Union of hotel trades and industries (UMIH), also fears major damage in his sector of activity. “There, we tend towards 30% of breakage on all the professions of the hotel, catering and discotheques, that is to say establishments which will not hold”, he fears.

Those who expect a difficult time

• Professional sport. The activity of professional athletes will continue during this new confinement, but the closed door imposed throughout France, if it continues, threatens the finances of bloodless clubs, which are already asking for help. “This lack of revenue from ticketing was already a problem since the resumption for pro sport”, recalls Virgile Caillet, general delegate of the Union sport et cycles.

Obviously, not all sports are affected in the same way. Rugby, for example, which derives nearly 60% of its income from ticketing, the hospitality that goes with it, and sponsorship, and only 20% of TV rights, will find itself in a very complicated situation. The sound of the bell is not really different for volleyball, handball or basketball, which has decided to take a break from this weekend.

• Service sector companies that will be able to use teleworking. Between fatalism and weariness, many companies in the service sector are preparing to go back to “generalized teleworking” prescribed by Emmanuel Macron. With a difference in size from the first confinement: this time, schools will continue to welcome children.

But this solution is not necessarily the guarantee of painless confinement. “Teleworking has exposed the social divide between those who had good conditions at home and those who live in cramped conditions” observes Isabelle Calvez, HR Director at Suez with AFP. The company will thus encourage its head office employees to return to teleworking 5 days a week, but with “more flexibility and tolerance. We will leave the Defense Tower open, and we plan to accommodate 10 to 15% of employees”, she said, to be compared with a presence of 50 to 60% of employees in September.

Those who could do well

• The building and public works sector. Hard hit by the first confinement, during which its activity had fallen by 88% during the month of April alone according to the Ministry of the Economy, the construction sector could this time get out without too much trouble. The projects can indeed continue in the coming weeks, said Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday.

Something to reassure Olivier Salleron, the president of the French Building Federation (FFB), who has posted his satisfaction on social networks.

• Large-scale distribution and the agri-food sector. Remembering the raids on supermarkets in March, the food industry manufacturers ensure this time to be prepared for this new confinement. “The food chain has held and it will hold” the president of the national association of food industries (ANIA), Richard Girardot, told AFP.

Manufacturers have started to speed up the production rates of pasta and basic products again since the curfew two weeks ago, and distribution has increased its stocks.

Richard Girardot, President of the National Association of Food Industries

to AFP

The Spanish agri-food group Ebro Foods has not had to complain about the year 2020 for the moment. The company, owner of Panzani and Lustucru, announced on Wednesday that it had seen its net profit climb by nearly 28% in the first nine months of 2020, mainly thanks to the increase in sales of pasta and rice during the containments put in place in spring.

• E-commerce and the delivery industry. As a result of the increase in online commerce activity during the previous confinement, the delivery sector experienced an improvement which continued during the summer. “Since deconfinement, we have grown by 30%”, details in Figaro Xavier Mallet, CEO of Colissimo. Between confinement and the period conducive to Christmas shopping, this subsidiary of La Poste expects an increase in its activity of 24%. Some 9,000 seasonal workers must also swell its ranks in the coming weeks.



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