A queue in front of a store in Lyon, during the winter sales 2021. -


  • With Covid-19 contaminations still numerous and the threat of variants, the hypothesis of a third confinement is becoming more and more precise.

  • Employer representatives plead for businesses to remain open.

  • Others believe that social interactions should be kept to a minimum.

It's not there yet, but everyone is talking about it already.

Since the government cleverly, via the


, “leaked” the hypothesis of a third confinement as early as this week, the subject has become extremely topical.

And everyone tries to position themselves to influence the decisions that will be taken in the event of another turn of the screw.

Among these lobbyists who make their voices heard in the media, we find the head of Medef, Geoffroy Roux de Bézieux.

The "boss of the bosses" came this Monday on BFM to defend his shop.

Finally, the shops in general: “We learned from previous reconfigurations (…) that we could remain open without causing contamination.

And therefore what we are asking (…) is to leave all businesses open and (…) not to fall back into this “essential” and “non-essential” debate ”.

The question had already caused a stir in October, when several municipalities tried to rebel by authorizing - in vain - the opening of businesses which were normally to close.

So what are the “for” and “against” arguments? 

20 Minutes

takes stock.

"For": Prevent economic sinking without risk of epidemic outbreak

For Pierre Goguet, president of CCI France, which brings together chambers of commerce and industry, it is impossible to envisage a new confinement without development.

“We have to be able to function,” he pleads.

Traders are economically and morally in danger.

For some, a working life is at stake ”.

He therefore asks "for exemptions beyond 6 p.m. for restaurants, in order to get take-out meals, because the curfew has greatly reduced their turnover".

Another request: “We have just started a period of sales which should last a month.

If we close the stores after a week, that will seriously compromise the rest of the year ”.

Regarding possible health risks, Pierre Goguet assures us that they are already reduced to the maximum: “each business has already implemented a strict health protocol, with masks, freezing, counting, distancing.

We cannot do more ”.

In addition, he says, "it has not been shown that the opening of stores led to an increase in contamination".

In fact, in its opinion of January 13, 2021, the Scientific Council recognized that it was "difficult" to measure the impact of a closure of shops on the epidemic, because "the interventions (wearing masks, closing schools, the closure of shops, bars and restaurants, etc.) are very often implemented in a combined manner, so that it is difficult to differentiate the impact of each measure ”.

“Closing non-essential businesses, such as hairdressers, dry cleaners or bookstores, would not be very effective.

These are not places where clusters are formed, ”assured Antoine Flahaut, professor of public health and director of the Institute for Global Health at the University of Geneva, in an interview at the end of October on CNews.

“Against”: Reduce social interactions

For sociologist Jean Viard, the anger of traders is legitimate, but it misses an essential point.

"We must reduce social interactions," he

told 20 Minutes


If you leave the schools open and you still have to go to work, there isn't much left to close apart from the shops ”.

He developed a similar point in an interview with Ouest France at the beginning of November: "It is not necessarily when you are in the bookstore that you take the most risks, because indeed there are rules in place, but it is the whole system that can be dangerous.

Because we go out, we meet people, we talk with her… And it is in this close social bond that we find the disease ”.

This is also the line defended by the government during the second confinement of 2020. Interested in the Senate on the subject at the beginning of November, Secretary of State Cédric O explained the logic of the executive: "we must make sure to reduce the reproduction rate of the virus (…).

We must therefore halve the social interactions of the French (…) If we had (…) left all businesses open, confinement would then have come back to closing only bars and restaurants.

It is with extreme difficulty, but also a great sense of responsibility, that we made this decision to limit the movements of the French, who see and rub shoulders with other people in shops.


Even if it means acting, so much to do it quickly and strongly, advocates Eric Caumes, head of the infectious diseases department at the Pitié-Salpêtrière hospital.

He admitted, this Monday on RMC, that “policies must take into account the social and economic variable.

The interests are not the same on both sides ”.

But in terms of health, logic wants, according to him, a "hard" and "short" re-containment, as in March 2020: "It would be necessary to confine rigorously from now on for four weeks than to have a soft confinement which will last for weeks ".

Implied: close businesses deemed non-essential.

It remains to be seen whether the government will keep this strategy if it announces containment in the coming days.


Coronavirus: In the event of re-containment, businesses must "remain open", plead the CCI and the Medef


Coronavirus: Little crowds on the first day of the sales but traders remain hopeful

  • Coronavirus

  • Confinement

  • Economy

  • Trade