French restaurateurs defy COVID closure ordinances

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French restaurateurs and thousands of other individuals have defied French authority orders to remain closed by hosting an event called ‘protest meals on Monday’.

Stéphane Turillon, owner of La Source Bleue, has said he will remain open despite government orders to shut all restuarants and bars for takeout orders only, Euro News reported.

On Monday, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire issued a warning to restaurant owners who aimed to defy the order, saying that restuarants risk losing COVID-19 financial aid for running afoul of government mandates.

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“I will always defend my profession. My job is not to click and collect and put food in a box. I have always been a restaurateur, I love what I do,” Turillon said, Euro News reported. “I risk three years in prison, a €60,000 fine, and up to six months of closure, I am aware of it.”

Another restaurant owner in Nice, France was detained for interrogation last week after deciding to serve lunch to more than 100 patron, marking another protest on the part of French restaurants.

While the French government has offered financial aid to restaurants, many owners claim the aid isn’t enough to make up for the shortfalls as a result of closures.

In many cases rents remain unpaid, even with federal COVID-19 aid.