The president of the Paris region has slammed the French government for wanting to “control everything” as she demanded the reopening of shops on Black Friday, claiming small retailers were losing out to big online brands.

Valérie Pécresse, the regional chief of greater Paris, told BFM TV on Monday that small businesses were suffering under Covid-19 restrictions and needed to reopen on November 27, also known as Black Friday.

Non-essential businesses are currently closed until December 1 as part of France’s second lockdown.

Pécresse claimed that if smaller retailers weren’t allowed to reopen for Black Friday, a major day in the commercial calendar, then they would lose out to global brands with a large online presence.

What I am asking the government is to not add a new injustice to that of their closure, that is to say to open from November 27. Because you know what November 27 is? It’s Black Friday. 

The regional president added that the government needed to be more flexible and allow small businesses to open under restricted conditions that wouldn’t undermine Covid-19 guidelines.

We must no longer nitpick: if these traders want to work until 10 pm – the time of the curfew in Paris – or if they want to work on Sundays, we must let them do it. We must stop this bureaucratic state that wants to control everything.

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The Arc de Triomphe on the Champs Elysees Avenue during the national lockdown, Paris, France, October 30, 2020 (FILE PHOTO) © REUTERS/Christian Hartmann
Paris to set 10pm curfew for takeaway food & drink to prevent crowds forming during Covid lockdown – Mayor Hidalgo

President Emmanuel Macron’s government has come under increasing pressure from regional officials, particularly in Paris, to open up businesses in a safe manner during the lockdown.

His government has previously shot down requests from Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo to allow bookstores to reopen as ‘essential businesses’.

France’s four-week lockdown is due to end on December 1, but Macron has warned that the measures could be extended if Covid infections don’t fall fast enough.

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