Lockdown day 45 – Update

Anyway, here’s the latest from France:

Basically, if all goes to plan and the coronavirus cases stay within forecasted numbers ie, no more than 3,000 plus cases by May 11th, then businesses can open up on that day. Oh, except: restaurants, bars, cafés, big museums, concert halls, etc,…anything that brings lots of people together, duh. High schools will stay closed until further notice (we will not know if these older students will go back to school or not until end of May). For pre-school, primary school and junior schools they can open but classes will be smaller, reopening will be stagnated, and parents will have the option of keeping kids at home to continue learning on-line. Only kids in junior high need to wear masks (bizarre ??).

Beaches will stay closed until further notice (we’ll hear about them again in early June). So we still do not know if the French people can take their holidays this Summer or if other nationals can come and visit. Each department will also have a say as to how they will run things and will be given a colour (green or red for eg) code for severity of cases that will either make their areas more or less strict. Argh…I’m not sure where we stand at the moment here in the Var but it’s somewhere in between. The latest from Brignoles hospital is that there are 33 cases of COVID-19 needing hospital attention and less than 5 people in ICU. No new cases have been recorded since Monday this week.

From the 11th of May what changes for us here in Cotignac is that we will no longer need to sign permission slips to go out (not that I have personally been stopped by the police even once for this since going into lockdown!) and we can drive as far as 100 km away without needing to justify the travel, oh goody. Except when I go to check out other villages it’s usually to talk about their restaurants too so this is not interesting for me! Further than 100km though you need a good excuse (family obligation, work, etc). If you can work from home it’s advised to do so (again, duh).

In the cities and for those using public transportation masks are obligatory. Small museums can open, large ones cannot.

Testing for the virus will be done more frequently, up to 700K per week and for free, but how they will go about this is still unclear. Many mayors and department heads disagree with the decision to send kids back to school, and the country seems divided over this.

I really feel for the parents who have no choice but to go out to work and therefore must send their kids to school no matter what. It will not be easy for the high school students left at home all day either. Fortunately my children are old enough to be responsible with their school work at home during the day and I can come and go as needed with regards to my professional obligations. I do have to force them to get enough exercise though! It’s always a challenge to try and control their time on their smartphones, but I suppose there are more serious things to worry about at the moment.

Here in Cotignac it’s another gorgeous day, a bit windy with a chill in the air. I saw lots of people walking in the village, chatting to each other, keeping their distances but still being social. I suppose we will see the shops here open up on the 11th of May but I know that they do cannot rely on locals to give them enough business. Almost all the gift shops, wine shops, restaurants and cafés and even the bakeries depend on tourism here. So the economic suffering will continue and if the tourists are not back in the Summer I can see how many of the smaller businesses may need to close down. This is my biggest fear at the moment.

On the up side the small grocers and even the butcher shop are doing well and continue to serve quality meats and produce. We are lucky to have these services in the village.

I took some photos from the forts today and a few from around the bottom of the limescale cliffs. Hope you are well in your corner of the world.