French chef Alain Ducasse believes that eating at home and shopping for your food poses a greater risk to health than dining at restaurants.
Ducasse made the comments after speaking with the French President Emmanuel Macron about the re-opening of the country’s restaurants and bars.
He told the Agence France-Presse (AFP): “It’s better to eat in a restaurant that takes all the precautions than at home where you have to go to your little local supermarket where people are bumping into each other, touching the fruit and not everybody is wearing masks.”
Ducasse, whose restaurants together hold 17 Michelin stars, called the current situation “catastrophic” for the hospitality industry, stating that restaurants could last “a few weeks” but not beyond that without assistance from the government.
Speaking during a video conference with the president and key members of the French hospitality industry, he said that if Covid-19 continues to diminish, restaurants in France could open between 2 June and 20 June.
Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, however, argued against reopening “in a hurry”, claiming that this might backfire and cause restaurants to close again.
Hospitality businesses were forced to close on 14 March in France, three days before the country went into a nationwide lockdown.
The French government has now promised to extend the aid granted to the hospitality sector.
Among the provisions that could be enforced upon reopening are mandatory one-metre table spacing, reservations limited to eight people, and the requirement for restaurant staff to wash their hands every 30 minutes.
A decision on when establishments can reopen in France is expected at the end of May. President Macron announced that some businesses and facilities would be allowed to reopen on 11 May, including schools, but that restaurants, bars and cafés would have to wait until a later date.