Shoe shopping and dog grooming: French town flouts lockdown rules

PARIS, Oct 31 (Reuters) - Some small shops and services, including a dog grooming salon, remained open on Saturday in a small town outside Paris with support from their local mayor, amid signs of sporadic pushback against a new coronavirus lockdown in France.

The French government put in place fresh restrictions on movement and stores on Friday to combat a resurgence in COVID-19 infections and hospitalisations, echoing a two-month shutdown earlier this year.

This time, schools will remain open but all non-essential stores are supposed to close.

In the small town of Yerres, which is within the wider Paris region, shops such as shoe-sellers remained open after the mayor allowed them to in a local edict.

“I think you’re taking much less risk going to buy your book or your shoes or your clothes in a small shop where there aren’t many people than in a big superstore,” the mayor, Olivier Clodong, told Reuters, adding he found it unfair that hypermarkets, which sell food, could stay open.

Police paid a visit to grooming parlour in Yerres where a dog was being shampooed, but they did not issue an on the spot fine. Authorities have said they will be tolerant at the start of the lockdown, which began on Friday.

About 20 other mayors brought in similar measures in other parts of France on Saturday, TV network BFM TV said.

The revolt comes after independent booksellers in France complained that they were being penalised by the lockdown, an outcry that received widespread support.

A book store in Yerres, as well as many in central Paris, tried to remain open by operating ‘click and collect’ services that allow people to pick up books ordered online or on the phone at the door.

Small protests broke out in Paris on Thursday evening against the coronavirus restrictions. (Reporting by Clotaire Achi and Johnny Cotton; Editing by Sarah White and Daniel Wallis)