- French authorities turned away 10 holidaymakers who were apparently warned not to enter the country.
- The police also fined three helicopters that were waiting to whisk the travellers to a private Cannes villa.
- France has effectively closed its borders, requiring anyone entering who is not a citizen to prove they work in an essential role or maintain their primary residence there.
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Some Londoners’ coronavirus holiday didn’t go as expected.
French police in Cote d’Azur turned away 10 holidaymakers who arrived in the country on a private jet from the United Kingdom, according to local media reports, while three helicopters waiting to whisk them to a luxury villa in Cannes were sent back to their bases and handed fines.
“They were coming for a holiday in Cannes and three helicopters were waiting on the tarmac,” a border police representative told Agence France-Presse. “We notified them they were not allowed to enter the national territory and they left four hours later.”
Since March 18, any international traveller arriving in France who is not a citizen is required to prove their primary residence is in the country, or that they fall into specific essential categories, like healthcare workers, flight crew, or diplomatic staff.
Another unnamed source close to the investigation told BFMTV that the group “tried to make use of their connections and made a few phone calls” in an attempt to get around the blockade.
Eventually nine of the 10 people returned to the United Kingdom while the last chartered another jet to Berlin.
The coronavirus pandemic has laid bare the world’s increasing wealth disparity.
Ultra-wealthy people have largely been able to ride out the pandemic in ways very different from their fellow citizens. When travel bans first went into place, many were able to charter jets to their home countries, avoiding long lines and potentially dangerous commercial flights.
And once there, some were able to hunker down in often-seasonal vacation homes. That’s putting strain on rural hospitals in some cases, which aren’t equipped to deal with an influx of non-residents.
In the US, unemployment has spiked to record levels in April as most non-essential businesses close. Meanwhile, a Pew survey found that the majority of people making more than $US100,000 said they would continue to get paid if coronavirus caused them to miss work for at least two weeks.