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Supermarkets in France banned from selling ‘non-essentials’

The Prime Minister made the decision after shopkeepers complained it was unfair that supermarkets could continue selling what smaller shops could not

Supermarkets in France will no longer be allowed to sell “non-essential” products from Tuesday (November 3), after smaller shops that were forced to close in the new lockdown protested that their sale was unfair.

A row broke out in France over the weekend, after smaller shops selling “non-essential” items - such as books and clothes - were forced to close due to the new confinement rules, but larger supermarkets were allowed to stay open, even if they sold items that other shops had been banned from selling.

In protest, some mayors had issued decrees allowing certain “non-essential” shops to stay open regardless, and one co-owner of a women’s clothing store in Blotzheim in Haut-Rhin, on the Franco-Swiss, border began a hunger strike in protest at her shop having to close, while supermarkets selling clothing were allowed to continue.

Read more: France mayors defend allowing ‘non-essential’ shops to open

Read more: Which shops can stay open during lockdown in France?

Now, Prime Minister Jean Castex has announced that supermarkets and hypermarkets will no longer be allowed to continue selling items that would not otherwise be available.

The decision was taken on Sunday (November 1) to limit the sale of these items, rather than to allow smaller shops to reopen.

It will be imposed by decree and come into force from Tuesday November 3 (tomorrow).

Mr Castex said: “We will not go back on the measures announced. The sale of products that are already banned in small, local shops will now be forbidden from sale in supermarkets.

“This is not the moment to go back on the measures announced, it is much too early. [I urge] everyone, as well as shopkeepers, to be extremely vigilant [and respect confinement]. The survival of the economy and our collective health is at stake.”


Products that will be stopped from sale in supermarkets include:

  • Cultural items (books, DVDs, etc)
  • Toys
  • Clothes and textiles
  • Jewellery
  • Decoration, homeware
  • White goods
  • Flowers

Products still available in supermarkets include:

  • Food products (fresh, frozen, bread, drinks, delicatessen)
  • Pet food
  • Petrol and fuel
  • Garage items for vehicle maintenance
  • Garden maintenance products and tools
  • Computer and communication equipment
  • Magazines, newspapers and paper
  • Specific clothes for work such as overalls
  • Parapharmacy products such as sterilising alcohol and bandages

Related stories

France lockdown: What is open and what is not?

France second lockdown: Your questions answered

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