Day Four of the strict confinement against the spread of COVID-19 saw restrictions tightened again.
Because some people somewhere on this coast did not respect the social distancing guidelines, all beaches were closed yesterday. On my walk this morning on an emptied-out Promenade des Anglais, the quintessential Nice boulevard normally crowded with locals and tourists, two police charged past me to rebuke and possibly fine a woman strolling on the beach with her dog. There were no other people in sight up and down the coastline, except a local TV cameraman and reporter. Nevertheless, a half hour later when I arrived home and checked city updates, I saw that the Promenade des Anglais had also been closed.
Vehicle traffic, while slight, is slow because the police stop every car for proof the drivers have a valid reason to be crossing town.
Drones support police in monitoring the situation. (For once, I’m in favor of the odious machines.)
The “attestation” document we are required to carry each time we leave our homes, not to circulate beyond a 2 kilometer radius, has to be a fresh copy every day. No crossing out yesterday’s date for today’s to save paper or printer ink. You can no longer show an image of the document on your phone.
Fines for not having the attestation or non-compliance in any other way have been raised, from 35 euros to 135.
Nice doesn’t have a “ghost town” look, because the weather is enticingly gorgeous at present and people are free to grocery shop and attend to banking and other essential matters. There’s no doubt the pace has slowed way down, streets have gotten quieter and the city’s sunny nature become more grave.
A nearby town of Vallauris now has a “couvre-feu,”or curfew. Ok, it starts at 10pm so I don’t know what that’s about. Our mayor is considering one for 9:30pm, starting this weekend.
And why shouldn’t he, and why not even make it earlier? The epicenter of the disease is now Europe, and deaths in France are approaching 500, with cases doubling every four days. Deaths in Italy have reached 4,000, surpassing the total fatality count in vastly larger China. It’s frightening to consider the stress French hospitals will soon experience.
In other news, Prince Albert of Monaco has tested positive. The annual Cannes Film Festival has been postponed from early to mid-May to late June (which might be wishful thinking). All city parks are closed, and in fact, all of France’s national parks are as well. US Secretary of State Pompeo told Americans overseas to return to the US, and expats in Europe where there is universal health care all said “Hell, no.”
And, from Marseille, a possible treatment is gaining interest.
We are doing okay with the confinement, so far. Sure, there’s lots to read and watch, new recipes to work on, naps to indulge in, but we do miss real social contact. Today while out, I texted a friend to come to her window so that we could see each other. I had a virtual coffee over Skype with two friends, almost like in the old days but just not quite. We’ve been FaceTiming or WhatsApp video-ing almost daily with friends and family near and far.
No complaints, however. We feel good. We have everything we need. It could be a lot worse.