World Eerie photos show empty Parisian streets and bars under new Covid-19 curfew

20:30  20 october  2020
20:30  20 october  2020 Source:   cnn.com

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Only a few weeks ago, the cafés, bars and restaurants of Paris were bustling late into the night, neon signs gleaming and masked patrons spilling onto flower-filled terraces, still reveling in their freedom after a strict spring lockdown.

a group of people walking in front of a store © Kiran Ridley/Getty Images

The street life the city is famous for was back, and it was almost as if the French capital was back to its old self

Now, those same streets are being deserted again, as a strict new nightly curfew is imposed to combat a worrying surge in coronavirus cases in France that are part of a wider trend of numbers rising across Europe.

Hospitality venues must close and citizens stay home between between 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. across Paris. Other French cities, including Aix-en-Provence, Grenoble, Marseille, Montpellier, Toulouse, Saint Etienne, Lille, Rouen and Lyon are also affected.

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 Covid-19. Five questions on the curfew introduced on Saturday in several cities in France © Benoit Tessier / Reuters Bars, restaurants, theaters, cinemas… All will have to close their doors at 9 p.m. from Saturday, October 17 in eight major cities in France and in Ile-de-France, in order to respect the curfew announced by Emmanuel Macron. Illustrative photo. As of Saturday, October 17, Ile-de-France and eight metropolises will have to apply a curfew. This announcement was made by Emmanuel Macron, during his televised address, Wednesday evening.

Violating the rules carries a fine of €135 (roughly $160) for a first offense, and goes up to €1,500 ($1,760) if the offense is repeated.

Photographer Kiran Ridley took to the boulevards and alleyways of Paris on October 17 -- the night the curfew was introduced -- to capture what it's like when the city goes dark, and contrast these eerie images with snapshots of livelier scenes of the same spots back in September and early October.

The images show that familiar Paris bustle and the warm glow from cafes replaced by cold street corners and shutters covered in graffiti. The Eiffel Tower still stands illuminated on the skyline, but in the later images, no one is there to enjoy its beauty.

CNN also hit the streets of Paris to speak to locals, and find out their thoughts on the new restrictions.

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"Nine p.m. has now become the new midnight," said French student who gave his name as Alexiane. The 22-year-old questioned whether crowds of restaurant-goers rushing to the Metro when curfew hits is any better than if they traveled home at midnight.

He also feels the decreased time for evening socializing is "ripping out the small bits of fun that we still had as young people."

That said, the student hopes the new measures will help decrease Covid cases.

"We are starting to sense a general fatigue of having to make sacrifices," he said.

At a Parisian bistro called Bar du Central, 23-year-old Mathilde, whose family owns the restaurant, spoke to CNN from behind the bar as she washed glasses and prepared for the workday ahead.

There are economic impacts to the curfew for businesses, Mathilde explained.

"We are losing turnover during the evening," she said.

Mathilde added that it's hard to rely on lunchtime sittings when many Parisians are working from home, or have left the city.

Curfew: should we change the transport offer in Ile-de-France?

 Curfew: should we change the transport offer in Ile-de-France? © LP / Arnaud Dumontier Paris, Champs-Élysées. Saturday October 17, 2020. One hour before the curfew. The bars are closing and people are returning. People running to catch a crowded subway, then, a few minutes later, empty or almost empty trains. This is the scenario glimpsed on Saturday, on the first evening of the curfew introduced in Ile-de-France. A wobbly operation that deserves to be rebalanced, according to users of public transport in the region.

And ensuring evening diners have wrapped up eating and left before 9 p.m. is difficult:

"It spoils all the restaurant experience, but we have to adapt."

Tourism in France is already diminished due to widespread travel restrictions and quarantine requirements. Mathilde thinks the curfew will further impact the city's tourist trade.

"Tourists do not want to come visit Paris because of the curfew," she said.

Other Parisians who spoke to CNN said they supported the new restrictions as a way of decreasing cases -- and that they were enjoying the added benefit of a decrease in noise pollution.

"The curfew is not a problem for me," said Mylene, chatting to CNN while standing in front of a bakery in the rain. "It is important to be careful, and to make health our priority instead of the economy. My street has become way quieter since the curfew, it's pleasant."

As for clothing store manager Lisa, she closes shop each day at 7 p.m. Under the new restrictions, she has only a couple of hours between finishing work and the curfew commencing.

She misses being unable to unwind in the evening after work, but in general Lisa supports the restrictions.

"It allows me to get some rest and to drink less alcohol. If the curfew leads to a reduction of cases, then I'm in favor of such a measure," she said.

"It's alright, we can wait two months and party later."

a city street in front of a building © Kiran Ridley/Getty Images

New protests loom as Europeans tire of virus restrictions .
MILAN (AP) — Protesters set trash bins afire and police responded with hydrant sprays in downtown Rome Tuesday night, part of a day of public outpouring of anger against virus-fighting measures like evening shutdowns for restaurants and bars and the closures of gyms and theaters — a sign of growing discontent across Europe with renewed coronavirus restrictions. Pedestrians and motorists returning home from work in Rome were taken by surprise when protesters, some of them hooded and members of an extreme-right political group, set afire to trash bins in Piazza del Popolo, overturned parked motor scooters and mopeds and hurled smoke bombs, state TV reported.

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