Covid: Frenchman fined over lockdown exercise in flip flops

Police issued the fine on the grounds that the man was not wearing sports shoes. His case may now go before a judge

22 February 2021
Person walking in flip flops. Covid: Frenchman fined over lockdown exercise in flip flopsThe man was walking within 1km of his home and had been outside for less than one hour
By Joanna York

A man fined for wearing flip flops while walking near his home during confinement in March 2020 has been told his case may go to court.

Laurick, 25, who lived with his parents in Saint-Médard-en-Jalles, near Bordeaux, went for a walk at 16:45 on March 24. 

He believed doing so was permitted due to “physical activity” being an accepted reason for leaving the house, as specified on travel exemption forms required at the time. 

In keeping with the rules, he was within 1km of his home and had been outside for less than one hour.  

But police still issued him with a fine on the grounds that he was wearing flip flops, rather than sports shoes. 

In a letter sent to Laurick’s father, Alain, the police said: “Travel exemption forms specify that people can leave the house to do sports, but he was not wearing appropriate clothing. With his flip flops he was just taking a walk.”

Laurick was issued a fine of €135. 

An additional €31 in procedural costs has since been added. And, almost a year later, Laurick has been issued with a second letter informing him that his case may now go before a judge. 

Alain told local new source Sud Ouest: “The situation is so grotesque, it’s funny.”

He is now in the process of trying to prove that “physical activity” as permitted by travel exemption forms has a broader definition than simply “doing sports”, as interpreted by the police Laurick encountered.

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