COVID-19: bars in Paris and near suburbs closed from Tuesday

Paris | Silence falls again on the Parisian night and “now it’s metro, work, sleep”: the bars of the capital, after the parenthesis of summer, draw back the curtain Monday evening, resigned, but bitter about this new sanitary screw turn.

• Read also: All developments in the COVID-19 pandemic

The bottles of wine to empty are on the counter. The aperitif boards have doubled in size to handle all the perishable goods.

” We learned. With everything we had to throw away in March, we had prepared ourselves there, “said Omar Allik, 41, manager of Touller in the 11th arrondissement of Paris.

“It’s disheartening and we don’t know how long it will last. No salary, 15,000 euros of rent and charges and nothing that will come in, small businesses like mine do not have access to the compensation fund ”, explains this manager, who will use the weeks to come to profit for “Take more care of his daughter” and “do the counting”.

The ephemeral wind of normality and recklessness that have allowed Parisian bars to refuel since June, in particular thanks to a new system of ephemeral terraces, is coming to an end as the second wave of the COVID epidemic- 19 strikes the capital, now placed in maximum alert level.

The closure is effective from Tuesday and for two weeks since Paris and the inner suburbs have been placed in the maximum alert zone.

“We come for Omar, to support him this last evening after an atrocious year. It’s sad, we’re a little melancholy, it’s over the drinks after work, now it’s metro, work, sleep “, comments at the bar, beer in hand, one of the regulars, Romain Carillon, 34, architect.

“Stay open with 10 pelos (people, Editor’s note) between 6 pm and 10 pm with no help … It would be unmanageable too”, resigns Jean-Baptiste Adrian, server in another bar in the neighborhood. For this specialist in cocktails, beard thick under his mask and “passionate about his work”, it will be partial unemployment (funded by the state, editor’s note) until further notice.

“Only the constraints remain”

In this festive street of the capital, several bars are eager to dismantle their ephemeral terraces. Piles of heavy rain-soaked pallets pile up on the sidewalk. Inside, the bars are filling up.

“Much more than for a Monday evening”, rejoices David Gamrasni, 44, owner of Pili Pili, a tiny cosmopolitan bar with floral wallpaper where rock music resonates very loudly.

With this closure, “we lose the authenticity of the social link, we lose our alternative places, the possibility of being who we are, everything that makes our world, and there will only be constraints, no fun moments”, said the forty-something in jeans and cowboy boots.

None of these traders have a solution to make compatible, the by definition uncontrollable life of a night bar and the need to strengthen sanitary protocols.

“We are scapegoats, we serve as a pretext … when we see crowded subways, when we do what we can to respect the instructions, in a place or all in all, unlike the metro, people do not have to come, ”argues David Gamrasni.

The bars in eastern Paris, already federated in association for a few days, intend to increase the number of meetings and are considering symbolic actions of protest in the coming days.

“People will end up blowing a rope and we traders are not necessarily revolutionaries, but we are going to have to become,” he comments.

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