Diners in France flout lock-down rules

Paris, April 11 2021: Paris police broke up a gathering of over 110 people in an underground restaurant for disregarding COVID restrictions against indoor events and dining.

According to a police statement made for the public, “Guests fined for failing to respect applicable health measures. Organizer and management arrested.” In a second incident, just outside Paris, police fined 62 people at lunchtime. Police tweeted that they had arrested the manager of that restaurant as well.

All restaurants and cafes have been closed in France for eating in for the last five months. The country this week began a new limited nationwide lockdown to deal with surging Covid-19 infections.Underground restaurants offering wealthy people a pre-coronavirus dining experience have made headlines in France throughout this week.

A private television channel last week broadcast a story based on footage recorded with a hidden camera purportedly from a clandestine restaurant in a high-end area of Paris where neither the staff nor the diners were wearing masks. Participants were shown enjoying caviar and champagne at the event costing 220 euros.

Businessman and collector Pierre-Jean Chalencon, was briefly detained for questioning by police  alongside chef Christophe Leroy. Chalencon had claimed to have held several dinners at his luxury Palais Vivienne venue in central Paris attending a dinner.

The former interior minister Brice Hortefeux told reporters he did attend a “professional lunch” with a journalist late last month that was organised by Leroy. But he said he was informed it was completely legal because it was in a private and isolated apartment rather than in a restaurant.

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