// Retailers in France face store closures due to lockdown amid coronavirus outbreak
// The UK is yet to impose such measures although many stores have now closed
France has imposed a near-total lockdown for 15 days, barring residents from leaving their homes for anything other than essentials, with most retailers forced to close their doors.
“We are at war,’’ French president Emmanuel Macron said in an address to the nation on Monday night.
“The enemy is invisible and it requires our general mobilisation.”
So far, the Santé Publique France has listed at least 6633 people infected with Covid-19 and at least 148 dead in France.
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Paris, often regarded a global epicentre for fashion and shopping, is part of the nationwide lockdown in France.
France is not the first country to impose such measures.
Neighbouring Italy, which is the worst-affected in Europe and second-worst affected globally in terms of the coronavirus outbreak, went into lockdown last week.
Meanwhile Spain, now the fourth worst-affected nation globally, is in partial lockdown.
“We are only at the beginning of this epidemic,” Macron said in a statement as he announced the closing of all French schools this week.
He added that rent and utilities bills for businesses have been suspended.
The UK has not implemented dramatic measures like Italy and France, although the government has now advised against all non-essential foreign travel and many retailers have chosen to close their doors.
Many retailers in the UK are now asking for rent holidays due to the pandemic, including Debenhams.
UK footfall fell by 2 per cent year-on-year in February, according to the new BRC-ShopperTrak Footfall Monitor.