Beaches and bars closed in Brittany as Covid-19 cases spike

Local authorities in parts of Brittany are imposing extra closures on bars and beaches in an attempt to control the rising numbers of coronavirus cases in the region.

Beaches and bars closed in Brittany as Covid-19 cases spike
The town is Quiberon reported 19 new cases last week. Illustration photo: AFP

Brittany is one of several areas of France that have seen a spike in cases in recent days, leading to concern from local authorities and health chiefs.

As well as putting in extra testing facilities, local authorities have now announced a crackdown on beaches and bars.

In the town of Quiberon in the Morbihan département the mairie announced on Sunday that all beaches and parks would close between 9pm and 7am every day, effective immediately.

The commune reported 19 new cases last week.

“What we are seeing is that all the positive cases in the commune are young people between 18 and 25,” Gildas Quendo, Quiberon's first deputy mayor, told France Info.
“They are linked to groups of more than ten people who meet late at night on the Grande Plage. We are forced to prohibit these groups.”
The Préfet of Morbihan had also raised concerns about the behaviour of young people and said he was considering banning groups of more than 10 people and forcing the town's bars to close at 7pm each night.
One bar in the town has already been closed down after it was found to be at the centre of a 'cluster' of cases, containing both holidaymakers and locals.
Préfet Patrice Faure said: “The infection figures are increasing in Quiberon. We did a little over 230 tests yesterday, we'll have the results between tonight and tomorrow. Depending on this, I will take other measures.”
He added that the area had been overwhelmed by gatherings of “young people who are on holiday or live here, unaware of the danger of contracting and spreading the virus.
“We have massively reinforced the gendarmerie teams on the ground,” he said, adding: “Every minute that goes by, my determination to be extremely firm grows.”
Between July 17th and 20th, 143 new cases were detected in Brittany and the R rate rose to 2.6 – meaning that every infected person was infecting more than 2 others.
Brittany had escaped reasonably unscathed during the height of the epidemic, but since lockdown was lifted cases have grown.
The area is a popular one for holidaymakers, both French and international tourists, but authorities said the majority of the clusters of cases are linked to family gatherings or workplaces, rather than tourism.


Member comments

  1. Anyone with a modicum of intelligence knew that this was going to happen. Travel restrictions were lifted too early along with the amount of people in groups. We’ve been inundated with visitors in my commune alone.

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‘Public opinion is ready’ – These French senators want to legalise marijuana

A group of 31 French senators of the Socialist, Green and Republican parties have come together to write a statement calling for the legalisation of marijuana in France.

'Public opinion is ready' - These French senators want to legalise marijuana

France is known for having some of the strictest laws regarding marijuana consumption in Europe – while simultaneously maintaining one of the highest rates of cannabis usage in the EU. 

A group of French senators – coming from the Socialist, Green and centre-right Les Républicains parties – are trying to change those laws, and have come together to call for marijuana to be legalised in France.

The group of 31 co-signed a statement published in French newspaper, Le Monde, on Wednesday, August 10th.

In the statement, the senators promised to launch a ‘consultation process’ to submit a bill to legalise marijuana “in the coming months.”

The proposition was headed by Senator Gilbert-Luc Devinaz, a member of the Socialist Party, and gained support from the party’s leader, Patrick Kanner.

READ MORE: The long and winding road towards changing France’s cannabis laws

A report by the Assemblé Nationale, which was published in May 2021, estimated that nearly 18 million French people (more than 25 percent of the population) had already consumed marijuana, and that an additional 1.5 million consume it regularly.

This, coupled with the 2019 finding that nearly one in two French people (45 percent) said they were in favour of legalisation, according to a survey by the French Observatory of Drugs and Drug Addiction (OFDT), helped strengthen the senators’ position.

“Public opinion is ready, the legislature must act,” they wrote.

Their senators argue that legalising marijuana in France will allow the authorities to better protect French citizens, saying that legalising would not require “minimising the health impacts of cannabis consumption” but rather would allow regulation similar to “public policies for tobacco, alcohol or gambling.”

For the group of 31 senators, the benefits of legalisation would involve a better control over the “health quality of products consumed,” “curbing trafficking in disadvantaged areas,” developing large-scale prevention plans,” and finally the taxation of cannabis products and redirection of law enforcement resources. Decriminalisation – in their opinion – would not be sufficient as this would simply “deprive authorities the ability to act,” in contrast to legalisation. 

READ MORE: Is France moving towards legalising cannabis for recreational purposes?

“In the long term, new tax revenues would be generated from the cannabis trade and from savings in the justice and police sectors”, which would make it possible to mobilize “significant resources for prevention as well as for rehabilitation and economic development,” wrote the senators.

In France, the conversation around cannabis has evolved in recent years – former Health Minister (and current government spokesman) Olivier Véran said to France Bleu in September 2021 that “countries that have gone towards legalisation have results better than those of France in the last ten years,” adding that he was interested in the potential therapeutic use of cannabis.

Currently, the drug is illegal in France. Previously, it fell under a 1970-law of illicit drug use, making it punishable with up to a year prison and an up to €3,750 fine.

However, in 2020, the government softened the penalties, making it possible for those caught consuming it to opt for an on-the-spot fine of €200.

There is also an ongoing trial involving 3,000 patients to test the impacts of medical marijuana usage, particularly with regard to pain relief.