Alcohol and masks in polling precincts, as France sets up for municipal vote amid outbreakRecord ID: 1463919
- Title: Alcohol and masks in polling precincts, as France sets up for municipal vote amid outbreak
- Date: 14th March 2020
- Summary: VERSAILLES, FRANCE (MARCH 14, 2020) (REUTERS) VERSAILLES CASTLE SEEN FROM KEYHOLE OF GATE PEOPLE OUTSIDE GATE OF VERSAILLES CASTLE, WHICH IS CLOSED DUE TO CONTAINMENT MEASURES AGAINST CORONAVIRUS WOMAN TAKING SELFIE FAMILY HAVING PICTURE TAKEN VERSAILLES CASTLE VELIZY-VILLACOUBLAY, FRANCE (MARCH 14, 2020) (REUTERS) WORKERS INSTALLING VOTING BOOTHS WORKERS INSTALLING CURTAIN ON BOOTH BUST STATUE OF MARIANNE, SYMBOL OF FRENCH REPUBLIC WORKERS INSTALLING BOOTH BALLOT BOX BEING CLEANED VARIOUS OF WORKER CLEANING CUBICLE WITH DISINFECTANT VARIOUS OF VOTING PRECINCT HEAD ORGANISER PUTTING UP INFORMATION POSTERS ON MEASURES TO CONTAIN CORONAVIRUS ILLUSTRATION OF ALCOHOL GEL ON HAND, ON INFORMATION POSTER (SOUNDBITE) (French) DIRECTOR OF CITIZEN RELATIONS AT THE VELIZY-VILLACOUBLAY TOWN HALL, VIRGINIE GIRAULT, SAYING: "So we are putting two hydro-alcoholic gel bottles, at the entrance and exit of the voting precinct." (SOUNDBITE) (French) DIRECTOR OF CITIZEN RELATIONS AT THE VELIZY-VILLACOUBLAY TOWN HALL, VIRGINIE GIRAULT, SAYING: "We have gloves and masks as well -- which are not supposed to be used actually, officials don't recommend using it. But it can help reassure people, we have a lot of things here for reassuring people. We also have scotch tape to define the confidential spaces." ALCOHOL GEL BOTTLES, MASKS, GLOVES, AND ELECTION PARAPHERNALIA BOX OF GLOVES (SOUNDBITE) (French) DIRECTOR OF CITIZEN RELATIONS AT THE VELIZY-VILLACOUBLAY TOWN HALL, VIRGINIE GIRAULT, SAYING: "We set up the voting precinct in a certain way to fight the coronavirus, especially by changing the direction of the voting booth to limit the holding of the curtain, which is supposed to keep votes confidential. We re-oriented the voting booth entrances towards the wall. That way, voters can go into the voting booth without having to close the curtain touch it, or reopen it, to limited the spread (of the virus), but at the same time keeping the votes confidential.'' VOTING BOOTHS FACING WALL VERSAILLES, FRANCE (MARCH 14, 2020) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF PEOPLE IN MARKET VARIOUS OF ARTICHOKE AT VEGETABLE STAND (SOUNDBITE) (French) ENGINEER LIVING IN VERSAILLES, DENIS REBOUL, SAYING: "It's quite a particular context (the municipal elections), the coronavirus comes at a wrong time. At the same time, personally I find it a bit of a paradox to close schools but to carry on with the elections despite everything. There's a feeling of certain political pressure, with the power play, and I find this a bit of a shame. Despite all of this, I will vote tomorrow, hoping that the first round will be decisive enough in this democratic exercise." PEOPLE AT FRUIT STAND (SOUNDBITE) (French) RETIREE LIVING IN VERSAILLES, FRANCOISE, 78 YEARS OLD, SAYING: "I'm not particularly worried. I am going to vote, while taking precautions. I will take my own pen, my ballot, I will wear gloves, and then voila, one must go on living. No, it doesnâ€™t worry me more than that. We just have to take precautions." WOMAN WALKING PAST FLOWER STALL
- Keywords: COVID-19 coronavirus hygiene municipal elections voting
- Reuters ID: LVA001C50XC93
- Location: VERSAILLES AND VELIZY-VILLACOUBLAY, FRANCE
- City: VERSAILLES AND VELIZY-VILLACOUBLAY, FRANCE
- Country: France
- Duration: 00:04:21
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Topics: Government/Politics,Elections/Voting
- Story Text: France votes in municipal elections on Sunday (March 15), as the country copes with the spread of the coronavirus which has killed 79 people in France and infected more than 3,600.
Voters will begin choosing mayors for 35,000 town halls and almost half a million councillors on Sunday at 0700 GMT in elections overshadowed by the coronavirus outbreak, which is expected to hit turnout.
At the town of Velizy-Villacoublay, where candidates for three right-wing lists and one left-leaning list are in the running, election officials were scrubbing down voting booths with disinfectant on Saturday (March 14), the eve of the elections. The town hall has prepared kits with alcohol gels, masks and gloves that will go out to the town's 30 precincts, where 15,000 voters are expected to turn up.
Election official Virginie Girault said elderly people will be given priority so they would not have to queue for a long time.
One of the last-minute measures to address virus concerns was to re-orient voting booths to face the wall, to help voters avoid touching the curtains while still keeping their ballots confidential.
Macron decided to go ahead with the elections despite concerns over the spread of the illness, which have led the government to shut schools and universities, suspend major sporting events, curtail public transport and close tourism attractions.
Some voters have criticised the Macron's decision, saying it was paradoxical in light of draconian measures such as shutting schools, museums and theaters.
Sunday's vote is an important test for Macron, with opponents now particularly angered by his plans to reform the French pensions system. His party is not expected to do well.
(Production: Noemie Olive, Michaela Cabrera)
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