| 12.9°C Dublin

Close

Premium

Lessons from Europe's strictest lockdown

Living in France, Mark Hayes and his family have been housebound for over a week. With parks closed and paperwork needed for trips to the shop, he shares his experience so far

Close

Time for fun: Mark and his daughter Kim are making great use of their garden

Time for fun: Mark and his daughter Kim are making great use of their garden

Time for fun: Mark and his daughter Kim are making great use of their garden

We've been confined to quarters in France for a week now and so far it's been… bearable.

Our strict Coronavirus lockdown here came into effect last Tuesday, March 17, at noon. Since then, if you want to leave the house, you need to print out an attestation form and fill it in, justifying your reasons. As anyone who has lived here will know, there's no problem the French can't make worse with paperwork.

The situation we are in is a big step-up from physical distancing, the policy in force in Ireland. Here in Castres, like elsewhere in France, everyone has been told "#restezchezvous" - the hashtag is ubiquitous. All non-essential businesses are shut by order - only supermarkets, pharmacies and essential services remain open. People have been told to work from home if possible. The lockdown was initially put in place for 15 days, but we all know it will be extended.