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France's north BANS late-night booze sales

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France's north BANS late-night booze sales
Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images North America/AFP
12:09 CET+01:00
While some are calling for French people to carry on as normal and return to the terraces of bars, one official is taking another approach in response to the Paris attacks: banning the sale of alcohol after 8pm.

The sale of alcohol has been forbidden between the hours of 8pm and 8am, as part of measures introduced by Jean-François Cordet, prefect of the Nord department of France. The ban will last until the end of the national state of emergency on February 26th.

The ban applies to supermarkets and liquor stores in the Nord department, which lies on the border with Belgium. It includes Lille and Roubaix, the town which saw hostages taken by armed men and a stand-off with police on Tuesday.

“This measure aims to limit problems of public order, and ensure that police officers are not scattered around on tasks related to excessive consumption of alcohol,” Cordet explained.

Unsurprisingly however, the move has not met with unanimous support.

“This is going too far,” one shopkeeper in Lille told local newspaper La Void du Nord.

Many also feared a negative effect on their takings. The aftermath of the terror attacks has seen several sectors badly hit, notably the tourism sector, with airlines reporting a drop in demand for flights and Paris department stores seeing customer numbers fall by 30 to 50 percent.

“I'll make a loss,” one supermarket owner said, adding that his customers were annoyed.

“What's more, it won't do anything. People will come before 8pm, or they will go out to bars. It's ridiculous!”

Cordet has also banned the consumption and even possession of alcohol - or any drink in a glass bottle - on public highways after 8pm. 

The measures contrast to efforts in the capital to carry on as normal in the wake of the attacks. The owners of Le Carillon, a bar targeted by the gunmen, told The Local that regulars were urging them to reopen when the time was right, and several social media campaigns have seen defiant Parisians returning to bistro and bar terraces. 

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