As France announced a country-wide lockdown beginning Friday, people in Paris started fleeing for the countryside on Thursday evening, causing logjams that stretched for 435 miles (700 kilometres) at one point. There was only a sprinkling of people hurrying along city sidewalks on Friday as the nationwide restrictions came into effect. French President Emmanuel Macron ordered the second lockdown to put brakes on Covid-19 surge. The new restrictions which came into force on Friday will last until December 1, The only places that were busy were grocery stores and markets as people stockpiled food and other necessities. France is witnessing new daily cases currently averaging around 50,000.
People in France has been ordered to stay at home at all times with no visitors, or risk steep fines or prosecution. There are a handful of exceptions, such as being allowed out for one hour of exercise a day within a half-mile (1 kilometer) of home, to go to medical appointments, to a place of work, or to shop for essential goods. Restaurants and cafés are shuttered, apart from those that offer takeout. According to prime minister Jean Castex "Going to friends' houses, having friends over and moving around for anything other than the reasons set out" will be impossible.
Such measures have taken a brutal toll on economies around Europe, and French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire gave grim predictions during an interview on France-Inter, raising his estimate for the depth of the recession. He forecasted an 11 per cent fall in GDP this year. French residents could perhaps be forgiven for thinking it was groundhog day, just a few months after they emerged from one of the strictest lockdowns in Europe.
Incredible traffic jam in Paris as people try to leave the city before 9 pm curfew and before confinement begins at midnight. Traffic is barely moving in every direction as far as the eye can see. Lots of honking and frustrated drivers. pic.twitter.com/6Zn2HCxuPl— Michael E. Webber (@MichaelEWebber) October 29, 2020