- Title: Alcohol and masks in France's voting stations, as virus casts shadow over polls
- Date: 15th March 2020
- Summary: PARIS, FRANCE (MARCH 15, 2020) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF NUN WEARING MASK, AS SHE WAITS AT VOTING PRECINCT TO VOTE IN MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS NUN GOING INTO VOTING BOOTH BALLOT BOX NUN APPROACHING TABLE WITH HER BALLOT (SOUNDBITE) (French) VOTER IN PARIS, JEAN, SAYING: "We would have preferred that they (authorities) postponed the elections. They've closed so many places, they could have postponed the elections in three months, it wouldn't have changed anything. And from then, we would have seen how the virus situation would have evolved. Everything they've done concerning containment measures were done hastily. We have the impression that it's never well thought of, or that they don't care about the people, in a way." VOTERS IN POLLING STATION NUNS VOTING PERSONNEL IN VOTING STATION WEARING MASKS, VOTER APPROACHING TABLE (SOUNDBITE) (French) VOTER IN PARIS, JEAN, SAYING: "Of course, everyone is scared...In any case, it will completely change our lives." (SOUNDBITE) (French) VOTER IN PARIS, DANIELLE, SAYING: "It changes all of society. There will be a long-term impact, on the economy, on health. And it's the most vulnerable who will pay the price, as well those who are really doing their jobs such as nurses and doctors." JEAN AND DANIELLE GOING DOWN STEPS OF TOWN HALL IN 18TH DISTRICT, WHERE CAST THEIR VOTES VOTER EUGENIE VALLETOUX VOTING VALLETOUX HOLDING DOCUMENT (SOUNDBITE) (French) VOTER IN PARIS, EUGENIE VALLETOUX, 38-YEARS-OLD, SAYING: "The risk of infection is there, but it's around the city everyday as well, there are still so many people out on the street. So by being careful like during this time, there's no reason to get infected. So I think it's good that the elections continued." VOTER SIGNING LIST, VOTING PERSONNEL IN MASKS MAN HOLDING DOCUMENT WOMAN CASTING BALLOT (SOUNDBITE) (French) VOTER IN PARIS, BERNADETTE, 70 YEARS OLD, SAYING: "Our son called us this morning to tell us, 'You should not go out and vote. You're at risk (of getting infected),' well, especially my husband. And (talking to husband), it bothered you to not vote." (SOUNDBITE) (French) VOTER IN PARIS, MAX, 83 YEARS OLD, SAYING: "Oh yes, it bothered me (if I couldn't vote). Despite my old age, I wanted to go vote anyway. I have always voted, and it bugged me not to come. We'll see how it goes." VARIOUS OF POSTERS FOR MAYORAL CANDIDATES SIGN FOR TOWN HALL OF 18TH DISTRICT TOWN HALL OF 18TH DISTRICT
- Keywords: COVID-19 Paris coronavirus elderly voters mayor municipal elections nuns voters
- Reuters ID: LVA001C55XB9J
- Location: PARIS, FRANCE
- City: PARIS, FRANCE
- Country: France
- Duration: 00:03:18
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Topics: Government/Politics,Elections/Voting
- Story Text: Fears of the coronavirus cast a shadow in France's municipal elections, where voters were to choose mayors for 35,000 town halls and almost half a million councillors.
The participation rate by late afternoon for local elections in France was down 16% from 2014, the Interior Ministry said in a statement on Sunday, as fears of the coronavirus may have forced some voters to stay home.
Participation was at 38.7% compared to 54.7% in 2014 at 1700 (1600 GMT).
Infections have jumped in recent days in France: authorities said on Saturday that 91 people had died of the virus and more than 4,500 were infected.
Prime Minister Edouard Philippe on Saturday (March 14) ordered the shutdown of most shops, restaurants and entertainment activities, although he said Sunday's local elections should to go ahead.
Voting stations were provided with alcohol gels, and personnel as well as some voters donned masks and kept their distance from each other.
Some local officials advised voters to avoid touching the curtains of the voting booths.
Polls begin closing from 1800 local time.
(Production: Clotaire Achi, Michaela Cabrera)
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