Paris (AFP)

The French continued Wednesday the rediscovery of activities banned for weeks by the virus, the government hoping that this gradual return to normal could come to the aid of a devastated economy.

The French were there on Tuesday at the reopening of cafes, bars and restaurants in the green zones, and only terraces in the orange zones (Ile-de-France, Mayotte, Guyana).

"There was a lot of enthusiasm, it went very well", despite some necessary adjustments to apply the health rules, commented on France Inter the Secretary of State for the Economy Agnès Panier-Runacher

The government now anticipates a fall in GDP of 11% this year due to the "extremely brutal economic shock" caused by the almost total shutdown of the economy. But "I have the absolute conviction that we will rebound in 2021," assured Minister Bruno Le Maire on Tuesday.

Social Security also takes the shock. The deficit should reach in 2020 an "extremely worrying" level of 52.2 billion euros, according to the Minister of Public Accounts Gérald Darmanin. With 11 billion more in six weeks.

To work on the solutions to be brought to this economic and social crisis, Emmanuel Macron and Edouard Philippe meet again Thursday at the Elysée the trade unions and employers' organizations.

"In the period" out of confinement, "it will be a question of working on what can be done to preserve the employment and support of the most vulnerable, in particular young people entering the job market," said the presidency.

- Social minima -

"I think that social minimums must be increased," argued Louis Gallois, president of the Federation of Solidarity Actors.

On the good news front, summer vacation bookings are gaining momentum, even if the delay accumulated during confinement cannot be made up.

The end of the travel limit 100 km from home "helped + boost + sales on the web with an increase in traffic over the last four days of 150% for Pierre & Vacances, and 180% for the Center Parcs domains ", in particular told AFP the Pierre et Vacances group, Europe's number one in leisure residences.

The borders are however still closed, which poses some problems with certain neighbors. In Menton, the controls to enter France from Italy, which has reopened its border, have aroused the nervousness of motorists.

"Apparently, France wanted them to reopen all together, so they make a nervous poop," said Frederic van Went, landscaper in Roquebrune-Cap Martin (Alpes-Maritimes) whose Italian gardeners had a hard time passing.

The slowdown in the spread of the coronavirus on the territory should also allow more students to find their way to schools, colleges and high schools.

However, the government's declared desire for a return to normalcy in National Education ran up against a draconian health protocol, with a limited number of pupils and sometimes, in certain cities, only one class day per week.

The epidemic killed 28,940 people in France, according to the report published Tuesday evening. The number of resuscitation patients (1,253) continues to decrease, but the virus is still circulating.

To avoid a renewed epidemic, the government has set up large-scale tests of all people with symptoms and contact cases, a system of isolation for the sick.

To help control the spread, the controversial tracking app StopCovid was also launched Tuesday night as a voluntary download to cellphones.

© 2020 AFP