Covid-19 in Europe - France June 2020

Our twinned clubs in Sweden, Italy and France are locked down like the UK, but are still busy supporting their members and their local community. Here France reports on life under lockdown in France.

Bleak Experience - Now Into The Light!

Lockdown restrictions are easing in the UK and across Europe.  Our friend and colleague from our Twinned Rotary Club of Beausoleil, Roselyn Tricetti PP, brings us a final report on Covid-19 impacts in France.

Opening The Borders

Along with other countries in Europe, we are beginning to emerge from this nightmare.

The restoration of freedom of movement took place in several stages, with a gradual reopening of shops, bars and restaurants in the less affected areas - the green zone.  Paris and the Eastern Region in the red zone had to wait until June 15. But, social distancing had to be maintained and tables spaced apart, and the number of guests reduced.

Schools have also gradually reopened and a full return is scheduled for June 22, 10 days before Summer Vacation (July 3)!

The opening of borders in the Schengen area is very important because France welcomes so many visitors every year.  For us in the south, tourist activity is an absolutely necessity.  But the economic outlook remains bleak and people are losing their jobs every day.

What Are We Doing?

In our District many Rotarian clubs have had initiatives such as financing medical equipment, offering digital tablets for people confined to a retirement home so that they can stay in touch with their families, supporting caregivers, and preparing meals, cakes and various sweets, etc.

At our district level, a listening and advisory service was set up for small and medium-sized businesses in difficulty, and Rotarians offer their professional skills based on their expertise in Finance, Law, Strategy, etc.

How Did We Respond - Rotary Club of Beausoleil

  1. 130 meals prepared by our chef Luc GAMEL (Best Worker of France 2000) on April 15/16 with the Community Action Centre (CCAS) of Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, for delivery to the recipients and their carers on April 17 by the usual route.   On April 30 he made pastries decorated with a “Thank you” chocolate plate, which was given by the Council with the traditional sprig of “Lily of the Valley”, to all council staff who had been part of the fight against COVID 19.
  2. Interactive and financial participation in Antoine Griezmann’s “24h Charity Live” for the Red Cross, with an interview about Rotary.  Famous footballer Antoine GRIEZMANN and his team GRIZI ESPORT hosted a 24-hour charity programme on the on-line TWITCH channel for the "RED CROSS”, for the fight against COVID 19 and to pay tribute to the caregivers.  We made a donation of 1000 Euros and were able to talk for ten minutes about Rotary in general and our club in particular. (9,000 online followers at the time of the interview).  We received the thanks of the National Director of the Red Cross and from Antoine Griezmann.
  3. Global Grant with our twinned Rotary Club of Alba for the purchase of 3 ultrasounds and 2 respirators. The project was set up in 24 hours by Philippe TRICETTI, joined immediately by Alba club, which has amongst its members a former DRFC Remo Gattiglia.Canale’s club was also involved in this project.  Total operation after intervention by District 2032 and Foundation of $41,400
  4. Global Grant with our twinned Rotary Club Ovada del Centenario after intervention by District 2032 and Foundation, for the financing of 11 respirators.  As part of the specific use of the Relief Fund, it was to be the international partner in addition to another five 5 clubs. Financial contribution of 500 euros.  The project was set up in 48 hours and validated by both districts for an amount of $39,000.
  5. Regular Actions – updating and posting on our FACEBOOK page to promote local businesses and especially our recurring partners.

A Real Meeting

During this entire period, we met virtually over ZOOM.   There were always enough of us and I helped members who had difficulty logging in. It was a great pleasure to see each other every week. We also took the opportunity to do Rotary training sessions and President-elect Philippe led several sessions such as the organization of Rotary, the Rotary Foundation, club life, etc.  We also created a WhatsApp conversation “Rotarian friends confined” on which we exchanged info, funny stories, music etc ...
Finally, on Thursday June 11 we met for a real meeting at our base in the Hippocampe Restaurant that so many of you know well.  Great happiness! None of us have been sick and there had been only a few cases in some members’ families.

For those who live alone, this lockdown has been very long and difficult. For those fortunate enough to have family and a garden, it was a long and quite relaxing period despite the anxiety communicated by continuous media reports.

And ..... The gardens have never looked so beautiful!

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