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France – Club Circus Paris takes legal action following order for Parisian gaming clubs to close again

By - 12 October 2020

Club Circus Paris is taking legal action to try and stay in operation, following announcements that all gaming clubs in Paris must close again.

The announcement was made by Paris police prefect, Didier Lallement, who said Paris and the inner suburbs were now in a state of maximum health alert, as part of the fight against the coronavirus. Parisian gambling clubs were informed that they would have to close until October 19. The Circus group subsequently lodged, an administrative summary appeal against the order.

The General Manager of Club Circus Paris and Circus Casino France, Sébastien Leclercq, said there were ‘exclusions for businesses which apply protocols health less restrictive than those imposed on our field of activity.’

“For the record,” Mr. Leclercq said, “our group owns the Circus de Carnac casino in Morbihan. We were therefore the first group of French casinos to be impacted by the administrative closures linked to Covid-19 on March 1 and the next day, March 5, 2020, our group had already implemented a health protocol. This health protocol was transmitted to all of the group’s operating sites, it was discussed, detailed and improved.

“Consequently, when the government published the“ National deconfinement protocol for companies to ensure the health and safety of employees, dated May 6, 2020, our group already had expertise in the matter and a strict protocol for two months. The reasoning is the same as for the Deconfinement protocol common to the entire UNHCR profession of May 31, 2020, here again, our group had a more rigorous protocol designed and established for nearly three months.

“As of October 5, 2020, and without wishing to minimise the health situation, it was at your discretion that the gaming clubs should close their doors until October 19, 2020. This situation is intolerable because the closure of the clubs will not stop the increase in cases of contamination in intramural Paris. The closure has a disastrous economic and social impact on our business. Club owners have invested hundreds of millions of euros. Our club has created nearly 110 jobs. The administrative closure of two and a half months in the spring of 2020 was a real wake-up call for the clubs. At the beginning of September, we sent files for the renewal of our authorizations and you will notice that we were just starting to resume proper activity on October 5, 2020. We have therefore accumulated losses since the deconfinement.

“When a casino or a club is shut down, a whole part of the economy inevitably dies because the employees are the first to suffer, then the State and the local authorities because the tax deduction system is based on the Gross Product of the Games and, finally, the owners of these establishments who work and invest at a loss. Each day of closure is synonymous with tens of thousands of euros in losses as the establishments below can continue to enjoy the freedom to trade:

With restaurants, schools, universities, points of sale in gas stations and room service in hotel bars, all still allowed, he feels there is an uneven playing field.

“We cannot accept this situation which is highly detrimental to our industry and which is not justified in law and in fact,” Mr. Leclercq added. “Our customers are separated by plexiglass, their temperature is taken as soon as they enter the room, wearing a mask is compulsory, we respect attendance in terms of gauge, a direction of circulation has been set up, we offer masks for customers who do not have them, alert procedures have been put in place if a customer or a member of staff should be suspected. All these procedures are implemented by Covid referents who ensure their strict application. So many precautions that restaurant owners are often unable to put in place due to a lack of personnel. I ask you to reconsider your decision within 24 hours concerning the Parisian gaming clubs.”

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