The plan to ease restrictions announced by French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe was given thumbs down by the upper house of the French Parliament, the Senate. In a tight vote 89 Senators said non to 81 in favour, with a massive 174 abstentions.
According to the French media, this vote is rather symbolic, as it cannot prevent the Government from going ahead with the measures.
During an impassioned address, Philippe stuck by his decision to ease restrictions from today week, despite mounting concerns the government is moving too fast to reopen schools.
Philippe said the easing of the lockdown was necessary as it had a big impact on the country economically and socially. “This confinement was necessary to meet the emergency, but its social and economic cost is colossal,” insisted the PM.
“We’re at a decisive moment, we cannot remain in confinement,” he said. “Economic life must resume imperatively and quickly.”
MPs who spoke against the re-opening plan argued that France was not ready to implement strict social distancing and other protective measures that will be required after May 11 to avoid a flare-up of the epidemic.