Last orders in Paris: Drinkers enjoy one last beer as shutters come down on French capital's bars


Drinkers enjoyed one last beer in Paris last night as the shutters came down on the French capital’s bars for at least two weeks due to coronavirus.

Half-empty bottles of wine were lined up on counters at the end of the evening, ready to be poured away, while fridges were emptied and cleaned. Anything open won’t be fit for consumption when the capital’s nightspots eventually reopen. 

It comes after Paris last week breached the maximum alert threshold of more than 250 infections per 100,000 people, with more than 30 per cent of intensive care beds reserved for coronavirus patients.  

Over the summer, city officials authorised expanded street terraces to help bars make up for lost weeks during the lockdown, which also helped to reassure patrons with less risk of infection in the open air. 

Now however, as a second wave of rising infections crashes over the capital, those terraces, for the bars at least, will be empty for at least two weeks. Restaurants will be allowed to stay open. 

A waiter packs up at the end of the day at Cafe de Flore on the last day before new Covid-19 restrictions force bars and cafes in the capital to close for a minimum of two weeks on Monday night in Paris, France. The French capital has seen a surge in Covid-19 cases and has been upgraded to a 'scarlet zone,' which imposes further restrictions including the closure of bars, cafes, gyms and swimming pools, as well as limiting the numbers of university students able to attend lectures

A waiter packs up at the end of the day at Cafe de Flore on the last day before new Covid-19 restrictions force bars and cafes in the capital to close for a minimum of two weeks on Monday night in Paris, France. The French capital has seen a surge in Covid-19 cases and has been upgraded to a ‘scarlet zone,’ which imposes further restrictions including the closure of bars, cafes, gyms and swimming pools, as well as limiting the numbers of university students able to attend lectures

The bars of the capital were packed last night as people went to grab a final drink and wish farewell to their landlords

The bars of the capital were packed last night as people went to grab a final drink and wish farewell to their landlords

A cafe bar near the Eiffel Tower on the last day before new Covid-19 restrictions force bars and cafes in the capital to close for a minimum of two weeks

A cafe bar near the Eiffel Tower on the last day before new Covid-19 restrictions force bars and cafes in the capital to close for a minimum of two weeks

A Parisian enjoys a cigarette with his lager outside Cafe de Flore on the night that it will shut its doors for at least two weeks because of the latest coronavirus lockdown

A Parisian enjoys a cigarette with his lager outside Cafe de Flore on the night that it will shut its doors for at least two weeks because of the latest coronavirus lockdown

Heloise Brebion, poses inside her bar minutes before the closure, in Paris

Heloise Brebion, poses inside her bar minutes before the closure, in Paris

Omar Allik, the 41-year manager of the Touller bar in the city’s ninth arrondissement in the north of the city, surveyed the handful of bottles lined up for emptying.

‘We’ve learned about this,’ he says. ‘With everything we had to throw away in March (when the lockdown started), this time we were ready.’

‘It’s disheartening, and we don’t know how long it’s going to last,’ he added. ‘No salary, 15,000 euros in rent and charges – and nothing will be coming in.

‘Small businesses like mine don’t get access to the compensation funds,’ he said.

Parisians drink on a terrace on the last day before new Covid-19 restrictions force bars and cafes in the capital to close for a minimum of two weeks

Parisians drink on a terrace on the last day before new Covid-19 restrictions force bars and cafes in the capital to close for a minimum of two weeks

Awaiter wearing mask stand next to distanced tables in a restaurant in Paris, on Monday night

Awaiter wearing mask stand next to distanced tables in a restaurant in Paris, on Monday night

People enjoy a drink on a bar terrace in Paris, Monday

People enjoy a drink on a bar terrace in Paris, Monday

Remy Kaneko and Oliver Lomeli, the owner of Chambre Noire bar drink wine inside their closed bar in Paris, Monday

Remy Kaneko and Oliver Lomeli, the owner of Chambre Noire bar drink wine inside their closed bar in Paris, Monday

Parisians drink on a terrace on the last day before new Covid-19 restrictions force bars and cafes in the capital to close for a minimum of two weeks

Parisians drink on a terrace on the last day before new Covid-19 restrictions force bars and cafes in the capital to close for a minimum of two weeks

A waiter packs up at the end of the day at Cafe de Flore on the last day before new Covid-19 restrictions force bars and cafes in the capital to close for a minimum of two weeks

A waiter packs up at the end of the day at Cafe de Flore on the last day before new Covid-19 restrictions force bars and cafes in the capital to close for a minimum of two weeks

A man carries a chair in front of a closing bar in Paris

A man carries a chair in front of a closing bar in Paris

Parisians drink on a terrace on the last day before new Covid-19 restrictions force bars and cafes in the capital to close

Parisians drink on a terrace on the last day before new Covid-19 restrictions force bars and cafes in the capital to close

He will spend the coming weeks looking after his daughter – and taking stock of the situation.

‘We’re here for Omar,’ said Romain Carillon, one of the locals, standing at the bar a beer in his hand. ‘To support him on this last evening after a terrible year,’ the 34-year-old architect added.

‘It’s sad, we’re a bit down. Drinks after work, that’s finished: now it’s commute, work and home to bed.’ 

On this street, usually buzzing with night-life, several of the bars are already dismantling the terraces built up just months earlier, wooden pallets piling up under the heavy rain.

Inside, in the last hours before an indefinite closing time, the bars are filling up.

French Junior Minister of Small and Medium Entreprises Alain Griset visits a restaurant in Paris, on October 5, 2020 amid new measures to fight the rapid spread of Covid-19

French Junior Minister of Small and Medium Entreprises Alain Griset visits a restaurant in Paris, on October 5, 2020 amid new measures to fight the rapid spread of Covid-19

Parisians drink at a bar in Montmatre on the last day before new Covid-19 restrictions force bars and cafes in the capital to close for a minimum of two weeks

Parisians drink at a bar in Montmatre on the last day before new Covid-19 restrictions force bars and cafes in the capital to close for a minimum of two weeks

There are a lot more people in than for a normal Monday night, says David Gamrasni, the 44-year-old owner of the Pili Pili. The tiny sports bar has an eccentric decor and blasts loud rock music.

READ  Coronavirus: India to loosen lockdown despite record cases

With the enforced closure, he laments, people are losing proper social contact, ‘the possibility to be who you are – everything that makes our world, and there will only be restrictions, no fun moments’.

None of these bars has any way of satisfying the health protocols now in force to slow the spread of the virus: too small, too crowded, too hard to control with everyone busy having fun.

‘We’re the scapegoats, we’re a pretext… when you see the jam-packed metros,’ says Gamrasni.

Parisians drink on a terrace on the last day before new Covid-19 restrictions force bars and cafes in the capital to close for a minimum of two weeks

Parisians drink on a terrace on the last day before new Covid-19 restrictions force bars and cafes in the capital to close for a minimum of two weeks

A waiter and chef talk outside a Brasserie near the Eiffel Tower as new Covid-19 restrictions force bars and cafes in the capital

A waiter and chef talk outside a Brasserie near the Eiffel Tower as new Covid-19 restrictions force bars and cafes in the capital

A waiter packs up at the end of the day at Cafe de Flore

A waiter packs up at the end of the day at Cafe de Flore

A waiter cleans up at Cafe de Flore on the last day before new Covid-19 restrictions force bars and cafes in the capital

A waiter cleans up at Cafe de Flore on the last day before new Covid-19 restrictions force bars and cafes in the capital

‘When you do what you can to respect the guidelines, in a place where – when all’s said and done and unlike the metros – people aren’t forced to come.’

The bars of eastern Paris have joined forces in recent days. They are planning meetings, symbolic protests to keep their plight in the public eye.

‘People are going to end up going crazy,’ says Gamrasni. ‘And we small business-owners, we’re not exactly revolutionaries – but that’s what we are going to have to become.’



READ SOURCE

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here