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France's economic woes worsen as Christmas approaches

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By Daniel Bellamy  with AFP
France's economic woes worsen as Christmas approaches
Copyright  VALERY HACHE/AFP or licensors

There's little Christmas cheer this year for France's small businesses as the traditional festive shopping season approaches.

Bars, cafes, and restaurants will remain shut for at least two more weeks, despite fierce lobbying for the right to reopen.

Since France entered its second lockdown of 2020, there's been a 95 percent drop in sales for the drinks industry.

A few cafes and bars are managing to make take away sales, but that is it.

In normal years many small businesses, such as independent bookshops, would make much of their profits in the run-up to Christmas.

But as shoppers are reduced to buying online, internet giants such as Amazon are getting an even bigger market share during the lockdown.

Even before the pandemic, Amazon had been accused of forcing many small businesses to fold.

On Friday some of the biggest names in modern-day French literature boarded a riverboat on the Seine to protest. It was another attempt at appealing to the government to protect the book trade.

But the government has been defiant, only essential businesses will remain open during the lockdown, which began on October 30 and ends on December 1. 

The government has said it hopes that people will be able to travel and meet family for Christmas, but it has warned that large gatherings will remain banned.