Covid: French Christmas tree sellers still waiting approval
Could the country face a Christmas without the iconic trees this year?
French Christmas tree vendors around the country are in limbo waiting for permission to sell the trees during a period where the country is in lockdown due to Covid-19.
Frédéric Naudet, president of the Association Française du Sapin de Noël Naturel (AFSNN) has said that he has been in discussion with the government for at least one week in relation to the matter.
He has assured vendors that Christmas trees will be added to a list of essential items allowed to be sold during lockdown.
"Yes, we will be able to sell them, the Ministry of Agriculture has assured us, but we remain cautious and are waiting for an official decree to be signed,” he told news agency AFP.
“We were given the date of November 20 [to start selling] last week but for the moment we don't know more.”
Every year in France, six million Christmas trees are sold, mainly in supermarkets, DIY stores and garden centres, AFSNN states. Around 80% of them are grown in France.
Many vendors rely on the income from selling the iconic conifers.
One, Mickaël Guettier from Calvados in Normandy, said that if they are deemed non-essential and not sold by major retailers it would deprive him of 80% of his usual turnover.
“This measure seems unjustified, disproportionate and penalising to the point of threatening my business in the short term,” he told the local branch of newspaper La Voix.
Mr Naudet said that vendors need to start preparing the trees now.
“They are generally delivered between November 15 and the beginning of December. Before that, the trees must be cut, packed and put on pallets. It is urgent that customers confirm their orders to us, and for that, the vendors need to know if they can sell their trees.”