Numerous mayors, everywhere in France, sign municipal decrees authorizing the opening of businesses considered not to be of “first necessity”, such as bookstores. The explanations of Philippe Laurent, secretary general of the Association of Mayors of France (AMF) and UDI mayor of Sceaux (Hauts-de-Seine).
“We believe that these local shops must continue to be able to live and the book is a cultural product of first necessity.“, declared this Saturday on franceinfo Philippe Laurent, secretary general of the Association of Mayors of France (AMF) and UDI mayor of Sceaux (Hauts-de-Seine).
franceinfo: The government announced on Friday that the book shelves of supermarkets such as FNAC or Carrefour were going to close temporarily so as not to compete unfairly with bookstores, do you think that can set a precedent?
Philippe Laurent: Equality has been found with regard to bookstores, but on the other hand, now we can no longer get books at all except through e-commerce and therefore Amazon. However, we think – and many of us think this – that these local shops must continue to be able to live and the book is a cultural product of first necessity. We had the possibility to restore equity by authorizing bookstores to open, but we preferred to close the book shelves of supermarkets. I really think the government needs to hear this. The Minister directly in charge of these questions, Alain Griset (Minister Delegate in charge of Small and Medium Enterprises) is sensitive to this concern. We are going to ensure that he can have all the necessary support from local elected officials and professionals to make the government reverse this decision to close local shops.
But how to make real containment if everything is open?
There is the limitation of the possibilities of exit with the derogatory authorization of movements. And there is the maintenance of the questions of curfews, particularly in large urban areas, which must be maintained and which we can even conceive of reducing. We therefore have other possibilities to obtain a form of confinement that in any case is not comparable to the confinement in March because schools and businesses continue to operate. Which is also a good thing. Finally, compared to the first confinement, we have to wear a mask and this is what we must insist on because I still see too many people moving around town without wearing the mask or without wearing it correctly.
Is it still difficult to find a compromise between health security and maintaining economic activity?
Of course it is difficult. But the concern to save lives immediately – which we all share – should not be thwarted by the fact that behind it difficult things are happening on the economic level and therefore also on the social level, in terms of human life. So indeed, it is a ridge line on which the government must work. And I think he should work more upstream with local elected officials and professionals and I am convinced that we could come to completely acceptable “win-win” compromises.