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Booksellers And Mayors Refuse To Close Businesses

Lille, October 30, 2020. First day of the second confinement decreed by the President of the Republic to fight against the coronavirus epidemic. – M.Libert / 20 Minutes

  • In the North, the reconfinement is difficult to pass for some. A bookseller from Lille decided to go ahead and leave her shop open.
  • For his part, the mayor of Faches-Thumesnil published a municipal decree authorizing the businesses in his town to remain open while hoping that the government will reverse its decision.

When she learned on October 28 that she had to close her bookstore a second time in seven months due to confinement, Fabienne Van Hulle first cried. Then, the 57-year-old bookseller from Lille thought about a means of action for two sleepless nights. By writing down her dismay, she finally decided to fight back and refuse this closure. In defiance of the law, Place Ronde, the name of his bookstore, did not close this weekend. And will reopen its doors on Tuesday as if nothing had happened.

“It’s a question of psychological ‘survival’ for my clients and for myself. We are fully aware of this pandemic. But there is also an increasingly serious economic and social crisis. And when I hear the President of the Republic say that we can go to work in schools, offices, factories, but not in a business. As if it wasn’t a job… And then, as far as I know, it wasn’t the bookstore that broke the hospital”, says the bookseller.

Possible Custody If She Refuses To Close

By leaving her bookstore open, Fabienne Van Hulle knows very well what she risks criminally: a fine of 135 euros plus an administrative closure or even police custody if she persists in her refusal to close her business. But the bookseller, who receives messages of support from the whole of France, intends to go through with her action.

“I respect the health protocol as much as possible. I leave the door open, everything is disinfected, people wash their hands when entering and leaving. There are never more than 2-3 people in the library. Emergency doctors, who came to support me, told me that the risk was almost zero at home”, assures the bookseller who hopes that the 3,000 bookstores in France will end up reopening in the coming days.

The Mayor Of Faches-Thumesnil Wants To Leave His Shops Open

Like Fabienne Van Hulle, more and more of them are refusing to apply government decisions. In the Lille metropolis, Patrick Proisy, mayor (FI) of Faches-Thumesnil, has just taken a municipal decree authorizing the reopening of small non-food businesses in his municipality.

“The goal is to send a strong message to our traders who are in a very difficult psychological situation with this new closure. The other objective is also to send a clear message to the government by pointing out its inconsistencies. Because there is a breach of equality of treatment with supermarkets which is intolerable. We also believe that it is not dangerous to go shopping in a small shopkeeper than in a supermarket”, protested the elected official.

The Prefecture Wants To Cancel The Orders In Court

On Saturday, some businesses in Faches have therefore reopened their doors to the chagrin of the prefecture, which does not want the situation to continue. In a press release, the prefect of the North requests the withdrawal of the orders while deciding to take legal action. Interim proceedings seeking to ask the judge to suspend these measures were thus introduced before the administrative court. Where the mayors are almost certain to lose.

“We know that our municipal decree is worth nothing compared to a ministerial decree. We did it mainly to send a message and a cry of alarm. I think the government has no interest in this continuing like this. Moreover, I thought I understood this Sunday that he might have reconsidered this decision. We must discuss and put in place a sanitary protocol adapted to each business. It’s common sense”, said Patrick Proisy, who hopes to see the situation calm down rather than anger explode.


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