France Investigates Secret Mask-Free Restaurants for the…

by akoloy

PARIS — Champagne, lobster and no masks: That’s what a French TV documentary says is on the menu at certainly one of a number of high-end “clandestine eating places” catering to the Paris elite, in violation of nationwide pandemic restrictions.

What’s much more surprising to the newly confined French public — and exhausted medical workers — is that one organizer claimed authorities ministers are amongst those that attend.

French authorities are investigating the accusations, and authorities members scrambled to insist they’re behaving correctly.

Anti-capitalist activists and critics of President Emmanuel Macron aren’t satisfied, and plan a protest Tuesday — marketed on social networks beneath the banner “Let’s Eat the Rich” — at one of many alleged secret venues,

The Paris prosecutor’s workplace stated Monday that an investigation was opened Sunday into potential expenses of endangerment and undeclared labor, and to determine the organizers and members of the alleged gatherings.

A documentary that aired on French community M6 over the weekend included a person saying that he had eaten in two or three clandestine eating places “with a sure variety of ministers.”

The prosecutor’s workplace stated Monday that the investigation is continuous regardless of studies that the person featured within the documentary had retracted his declare.

Government members denied data of any wrongdoing by their colleagues. Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin requested police to look into the claims.

M6 aired hidden digital camera footage that it stated got here from two totally different non-public venues in latest weeks, as a new virus surge swept over France and restrictions tightened.

At one venue, white-gloved waiters offered fixed-price menus working from 160 to 490 euros (round $190 to $575) per particular person whose choices included Champagne, truffles with foie gras, and lobster in ginger sauce. One host stated visitors don’t put on masks, regardless of France’s indoor masks necessities, as a result of “it’s a non-public membership. We need individuals to really feel at residence.”

At one other venue, reportedly providing a 220-euro ($260) meal, guests in elegant apparel shared cheek kisses and strolled a purple carpet.

French eating places have been closed since October to gradual the unfold of the coronavirus, and the nation simply entered a brand new partial lockdown in response to intensive care units again filling with COVID-19 patients.

“I’m getting sick of this. There’s no level in going to work,” stated Michele Feret, a nurse offering residence care to virus sufferers within the city of Creil, north of Paris. She famous {that a} clandestine restaurant in a working class district of Creil was additionally not too long ago shut down.

“Let them go to eating places,” she instructed The Associated Press, however warned that nobody, together with high officers, “has particular safety” from the virus.

Government spokesman Gabriel Attal stated ministers “have an obligation to be completely irreproachable and exemplary.” Speaking on LCI tv Sunday night time, Attal stated authorities have been investigating studies of underground events and eating places for months, and 200 suspects have been recognized and face “heavy punishment.”

When requested by the AP final month what number of authorities officers had been fined for violating virus restrictions, Prime Minister Jean Castex refused to present a breakdown, as a substitute itemizing the variety of fines issued to the general French public.

For those that are caught, the endangerment cost carries a possible jail time period and fines of 15,000 euros ($17,600), whereas members face fines of 135 euros ($160) for violating curfew and one other 135 euros for not sporting masks.

The restaurant revelations got here as France’s well being minister warned Monday that the variety of COVID-19 sufferers within the nation’s intensive care models might attain the extent of the primary disaster a yr in the past.

France has reported extra virus infections than any European nation, and among the many world’s highest loss of life tolls, at 96,650.

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