The representatives of the sports halls did not flinch. The new health rules announced by the government require, among other things, the closure of this equipment in enhanced alert zones since Monday, September 28. And the measure does not pass.
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The professionals of the sector were certainly received, Tuesday, September 29, in Matignon. They also heard the same day the Minister of Health Olivier Véran, answering questions from deputies to the National Assembly, promise them that this closure would only affect “In the shortest possible time” and that they can count on a “Compensation and economic support”. “But if there is a listening, the trend is not for all that to relax the measures, regrets Virgile Caillet, general delegate of Union Sport & Cycle, which brings together professionals in the sports sector. We were on a positive dynamic, and now these closures have broken the recovery. It is not an injury over just 15 days, but over six months or a year. “
Losses estimated at 40%
The FranceActive union, which brings together nearly 1,700 theaters out of some 4,500 in France, notes the negative consequences on the economic level: “50% of our members are closed. Disaffection also affects green areas because all this arouses distrust of users, deplores its president, Thierry Doll. A room manager called me this morning to tell me that he had 17 cancellations in his mail! We already estimate our losses at 40% compared to last year. “
The profession argues the investments made to put in place protocols securing the practice and the low circulation of the virus in the rooms, even if Santé Publique France mentions “sports, recreational and leisure activities” as responsible for around 210 of the 1 246 clusters listed as of September 30. “On the one hand, we encourage the French to play sports for their health while ensuring that we must learn to live with the virus, and on the other hand we are prevented from working”, storm Thierry Doll. The sling in any case rises. FranceActive and some cinemas have initiated summary proceedings before the administrative courts, with varying results depending on the territory. Some do not hesitate to defy the ban. “And actions, sometimes symbolic, are being prepared for this weekend”, warns Virgile Caillet.
Bleeding of licensees in clubs
The closures do not only affect private rooms. Gyms and municipal halls are also concerned, which affects clubs in many disciplines. “We lost 6,000 licensees on the first wave, and maybe 10,000 on the second, says Denis Odjo, the president of the French Taekwondo Federation. Almost all of our competitions are canceled. Parents are necessarily cautious ”.
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Similar tumble on the side of the French Table Tennis Federation. “Last spring, the haemorrhage affected 20,000 licensees. There, compared to 2019, we lost 11.5% of licensees last week, 13% this week, account the president Christian Palierne. So we adapt, depending on the departments, closures or not, even in green areas where elected officials prefer to open the umbrella by sometimes closing rooms without obligation. It’s a crazy situation. “
Some disciplines seem to be doing well. Fencing for example, which communicated with a playful tone about its habit of wearing the mask. “We limit the breakage, assures Serge Aubailly, the general secretary of the French Federation. Security is our know-how and we manage with the coronavirus an additional security, with a distance which in our sport undoubtedly secures parents. Concerning the clubs, in some regions, however, there is concern, especially because of the uncertainty. “
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This affects all areas. President of the French Federation of Rural Sport and of the Haute-Garonne Departmental Olympic Committee, Brigitte Linder measures it every day: “We receive dozens of calls from clubs trying to understand the prefectural directives. But they are so complex, and ever-changing, that informing is a headache. People are lost. So everything is paralyzed. And the worst is perhaps to come with a major economic risk by the end of the year for the employees of the sports movement. “
The FranceActive union and certain theaters such as the Keepcool franchise network (260 theaters) have filed around fifteen appeals across France against the prefectural decrees imposing the closure until October 10. The first two decisions fell, Wednesday, September 30, in Nice and Bordeaux and the judges of the administrative courts dismissed the sports halls.
→ READ. Covid-19: sports halls are fighting against their closure in Paris, Rennes and Bordeaux
Contrary decision on the other hand in Rennes, Thursday 1er October: there, the judge ordered the suspension of the execution of the order of the prefect of Ille-et-Vilaine, considering that“In the state of the data and information submitted to the court, private sports halls could not be regarded as places of active propagation of the Covid-19 virus”. In Rennes Métropole, the incidence rate of the Covid is however 155.56 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, higher than Bordeaux, where it is 140 per 100,000 inhabitants. In Paris, the administrative court asked the police headquarters to review its closure order by Monday, October 5, and to provide details. Until then, the capital’s sports establishments remain closed but can therefore hope for a reopening from Tuesday, October 6.