Restaurants and bars will reopen "as soon as possible," Emmanuel Macron promised Wednesday on the occasion of the traditional galette des rois at the Elysée Palace.
“The virus will continue to weigh heavily in the coming weeks,” warned the Head of State, addressing bakers, pastry chefs and the best workers in France gathered in front of a 1.20 m wide pancake.
He promised to "give visibility" to the catering sector, in particular on the closure of bars and restaurants, which has been extended until mid-February.
"2020 was very hard for all of your jobs (...) You have suffered a lot", he added.
"Supporting the most fragile treasuries"
France "is one of the countries which has protected those who work the most" by providing "massive and rapid support", and "we must continue to do so, improving", he assured.
The aid system will be maintained when the health situation improves and it will be necessary "to support the most fragile treasuries (of companies)" during the phase of economic recovery, according to him.
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"Without government help, many of us would have lowered the curtain," said the president of the National Confederation of French Bakery and Pastry (CNPBF), Dominique Anract.
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Despite the crisis, Emmanuel Macron was keen to maintain the tradition of the Epiphany, which has been held every year since 1975 at the Elysee, where the galette des rois is never garnished with a bean.
As a health precaution, the cake was not shared and tasted during the reception.
The Head of State welcomed the results of the apprenticeship reform, with 440,000 contracts signed last year, including 72,000 in catering trades and 24,000 in bakeries alone.
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Emmanuel Macron has also pledged to defend Unesco the inscription of the French baguette - "250 grams of magic and perfection" - in the world heritage of humanity.
It "is the image of France in the world", underlined the president of the CNPBF, at the origin of the request in 2018.