French companies face similar problems, but Znaty suggests that tax cuts could help mobilise private money for investment. “Enormous funds available in banks and insurance companies could be invested in companies. The state could guarantee these investments so private investors would know that they couldn’t lose, say, more than 20pc of their capital,” he says.
“Fifty million tourists come to Paris each year, but this year they won’t come – and neither will business travellers.”
This is a huge problem for France, where tourism and travel accounts for more than 7pc of GDP.
French tourism minister Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne says four in five restaurants have reopened, but 13pc will not do so until September because they cannot make a profit without foreign tourists.
“Sixty per cent of budget hotels are now open, but only a fifth of luxury hotels that depend on foreign visitors have reopened. International travellers from far off countries are not likely to come in large numbers this summer. More French people will holiday in France, which will compensate partially for the lack of foreign tourists, but not entirely,” he says.
Business for Nathalie Cros-Coitton, the head of a Paris-based model agency, came to a virtual halt during the lockdown. Her company, Woman Management, organised online fashion shows, with models photographing and filming themselves.
A fifth of the agency’s 650 models are based in Britain and she says the quarantine has stopped her from bringing them to France for fashion shows. “We’re now recruiting more in France but we like our British models. Our message to the government is, ‘please, lift the quarantine’.”