France’s finance minister wants to allow all shops to remain open on Sundays in the run-up to Christmas to make up for more than a month of crippling nationwide lockdown.
Bruno Le Maire’s comments came after President Emmanuel Macron announced that all shops, bookstores and hairdressers, could re-open starting Saturday morning as part of a three-phase lockdown exit plan.
From December 15, theatres, cinemas and museums will also be able reopen and people will be able to spend the Christmas holiday with their families as long as the number of daily cases and intensive care occupancy continues to fall. Restaurants will not be able to reopen until January 20 at the earliest.
France still has strict Sunday closing rules, bar supermarkets and stores in specific tourist areas.
Speaking to France Inter radio on Wednesday morning, Mr Le Maire said he wanted to waive these temporarily, saying: “I’m for opening shops every Sunday until Christmas, namely starting this weekend of November 28-29 for four catch-up Sundays.”
However, he said this could only happen if unions gave the green light because “working on Sunday is not nothing. There must be compensation”.
It would be up to mayors of towns and cities to approve any such openings, he added.
“My main concern is that all shopkeepers, who have played the game and shut down and taken the full brunt of the lockdown, are able to make up as much as possible the loss of revenue in November in the month of December.”