On Thursday evening President Macron made a speech at 8pm, the same time our choir rehearsal started, announcing further measures to control the spread of corona virus COVID-19. (I smile as I type that because the chap next to me said that Macron had completely discredited his announcement by referring to the virus as COVID-19, but that's the name of the disease, not the virus.) Anyway, he announced that all educational establishments would be closed from Monday morning and that meetings of more than 100 people should not take place.
The choir had concerts programmed for the 4th and 6th of April, but they have now been rescheduled for November. Meanwhile we concluded that the church could meet this Sunday, but we could not eat together or share communion. In addition people had to sit two metres apart. It was going to be different.
Events overtook us, however, as France moved to the next phase of the struggle with the virus on Saturday evening. The prime minister announced that closure of cafés, shops, cinemas, libraries, concert halls, anything non-essential. The only things left open are pharmacies, tobacconists, food shops, banks and newsagents. People were asked to keep contact with friends and family to a minimum and to stay at home. Churches were requested to postpone their meetings. We think this is because by law the government cannot ask for religious meetings to be cancelled.
So we quickly prepared for a Sunday at home. Sylvain was due to preach and we decided on Facebook live as the vehicle to do it. He did extremely well. In the morning we watched a service from Lyon, then a service from North Wales. Pat and I stayed in, well, using the balcony, but a visitor from Paris went out for a quick walk.
The weather was splendid today, a warm spring day, and the Bordelais came out for some sun and fresh air. The waterfront was crowded, a was the Jardin Public.
Meanwhile a tram driver has tested positive for coronavirus, so the public transport network was shut down while a means was sought to protect the drivers from infection. They'll be running tomorrow, but with a reduced service so people can look after their children. Intercity and TGV trains will also start to be reduced in frequency to encourage people not to travel from one area of France to another.
We plan for Bible Study and Prayer groups to run either by Skype meeting or by Zoom. We're allowed out for essential shopping - our pharmacy and a little supermarket are a short walk away - and for exercise. Otherwise we're thankful for our flat, its pleasant aspect and views and its large balcony.