PARIS - On the television screen on the wall of the Parisian cafe she runs, manager Karine Dubin watched President Emmanuel Macron tell the French people they were heading back to lockdown, and it left her feeling deflated.
France had already been through an eight-week lockdown this spring, and many people dared to believe they had seen the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic. But Macron broke the news that it was not over.
COVID-19 cases are surging in the country along with hospitalizations and deaths. There were 244 deaths from the virus in the past 24 hours, public health officials said on Wednesday.
"It's hard," Dubin said on Wednesday while settling customers' bills at the end of the night at the cafe, on the Boulevard Haussmann thoroughfare in central Paris.
"It's hard to tell ourselves, voila, we're closing again, we're losing everything again, the kitchen, our raw goods, everything, reorganise staff, inform everyone. It's complicated, it's hard."
In a televised address to the nation, Macron said the new lockdown would take effect on Friday morning, and would require people to stay at home unless they had an exceptional reason to go out.
Although schools will stay open, shops, cafes and non-essential shops would have to shut, and people venturing out would need a document justifying being outside, Macron said. The lockdown would last until Dec. 1 at least, he said.
Customers at the cafe, who had also watched Macron's address on the wall-mounted television screen, expressed resignation as they headed home.
"Let's say that it's a bit of an emotional roller-coaster. I mean, I'm a bit sad," said Nadji Saadeul, who said he worked in the digital sector.
"I have a bit of trouble feeling the consequences of COVID-19. With the daily numbers, there's a reality, but I think that if people were taking more 'adult' measures, more responsible ones, we wouldn't have needed this."
"The lockdown will entail a lot of hardships for everyone, for our jobs," Matthieu Segiy, a management consultant, said outside the cafe. "But I think we should accept it. It's for France's good." (Reporting by Antony Paone and Thierry Chiarello; Writing by Christian Lowe; Editing by Peter Cooney)