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Baguette-loving Germans go fishing at French border for their pastry fix during pandemic

German gourmets refuse to let a virus keep them from their favourite French pastries, with one even resorting to a fishing rod to reel in his baguettes.

Baguette-loving Germans go fishing at French border for their pastry fix during pandemic
Hartmut Fey from Lauterbach, gets his French baguettes at the German-French border using a fishing rod to comply with measures to contain the coronavirus spread. Photo: DPA

Residents in the German border town of Lauterbach in Saarland are fond of popping across to neighbouring Carling in France for their daily croissants.

So when the border slammed shut to slow the spread of the coronavirus, many were bereft at no longer having access to their favourite boulangerie.

But baker Myriam Jansem-Boualit is going the extra mile – or at least, the extra few metres to the border – to make sure her German customers can still have their daily loaf.

EXPLAINED: How Germany and France's lockdown exit strategies compare

Hungry customers can telephone ahead with their orders, and Jansem-Boualit will meet them at the border crossing in the street outside her shop with the fresh baked delicacies.

Photo: DPA

“There used to be a lot of Germans who came here to buy bread,” she said. “They don't dare come any more because… there are checks. So what I can do now is bring the bread to them… across the barrier.”

Hartmut Fey, 52, is one of her happy customers.

“It has to do with tradition. We've been buying our baguettes and bread here in France for decades,” he said.

Fey has even published a video on social media showing himself retrieving his baguettes with a fishing rod. “It was an idea of mine to create awareness,” he said.

Fishing tackle is not compulsory, but with a steady stream of customers at the barrier, it seems Fey is not the only one who is hooked.

Member comments

  1. This isn’t funny, it’s desperately sad; we are Europeans but the states are beginning to Coopers up again. There is no sense in blanket prohibition when both states are taking similar precautions over people shopping. La Grande Region has been broken into 4 unsustainable pieces.

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COVID-19

French government votes to allow return of Covid tests at border

The French parliament has passed the controversial health bill which updates France's emergency provisions for Covid - and allows the return of negative Covid tests for all travellers at the border, if the health situation requires.

French government votes to allow return of Covid tests at border

The Loi sanitaire was eventually approved by the Assemblée nationale on Monday after several variations and amendments added on its passage through the Assemblée and the Senate. It was voted on and passed Tuesday, May 26th. 

The bill replaces the State of Health Emergency that has been in place since March 2020 and puts in place provision for government actions should the health situation deteriorate or a dangerous new variant of Covid emerge.

The original text had a provision for the return of the health pass at the border, but this has now been scrapped and instead the government has the right to make a negative Covid test a condition of entry for all travellers.

At present negative tests are required only for unvaccinated travellers, and the new test requirement would only be put into force if a dangerous new variant emerges.

The government will be able to implement the testing rule by decree for two months, but a further parliamentary debate would be required to extend it beyond that.

From August 1st the State of Health Emergency will be formally repealed, which means that the government no longer has the power to introduce major limits on personal freedom such as lockdowns or curfews without first having a debate in parliament.

The bill also allows for an extension of data collection required for the SI-DEP epidemic monitoring tools such as the contact tracing app Tous Anti Covid until June 30th, 2023 and Contact Covid until January 31st, 2023. 

The most controversial measure in the bill was the reinstatement of healthcare workers who were suspended for being unvaccinated – this actually only involves a couple of hundred people but medical unions and the medical regulator Haut Autorité de Santé (HAS) have both been against it.

However the bill allows for the eventual lifting of the requirement for Covid vaccination for healthcare workers, when the HAS judges it is no longer necessary and once the requirement is lifted, the suspended healthcare workers will be reinstated “immediately”.

The bill was approved on Monday evening with 184 votes to 149, the result of a joint committee that was able to harmonise the versions of the Assembly and the Senate.

The final vote passed the Senate on Tuesday.

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