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'Everyone is afraid of everyone': Life under lockdown in France

‘Everyone is afraid of everyone’: Life under lockdown in France

The country has deployed police to the streets to ensure compliance, and residents are required to carry a form with them whenever they leave their houses. The form states their address and lists five reasons for going outside: buying groceries, going to the pharmacy or doctor, going to work if it’s impossible to work from home, looking after children or the elderly, or exercising or walking the dog. 

Outdoor exercise must be limited to once per day, for no longer than an hour, and no farther than one kilometer (0.62 mile) from the house. 

“We present the paper to the police when they see us,” says Amel, a 30-year-old airport services worker in Paris who was put out of work this week but is being provided a reduced salary by the government. “There is no one outside, it’s quite depressing, the shops are closed. There is this fear — people are staying away from each other, not even smiling, it’s weird.” 

“Even in my own family they are scared of me, because I would go outside for work,” Amel said. “They ask me, ‘Have you washed your hands? Take off your coat, don’t sit there, don’t enter this room.’ Everyone is scared of everyone, as if everyone has COVID in them.”