Joan Collins

Joan Collins: my face mask fight with the gendarmerie

[Getty Images]

It’s three days since rumours swirled around France that President Macron was going to impose a ‘tit-for-tat’ quarantine on UK visitors. While waiting for the axe to fall, several friends who had booked flights to visit us in Saint-Tropez were unsure whether to come or not. Julian Clary, who had already accepted the fact that he was going to have to quarantine upon his return home to London, told me: ‘I don’t mind having to stay at home — what I mind is not being able to visit my mother.’ ‘Well, I haven’t seen my eldest two children or my grandchildren for nearly six months,’ I retorted. There seems to be no end in sight, as morning, noon and night the media blasts out theories and rumours, about what we can and cannot do and where we are allowed or not allowed to go. Percy and I were locked down in our London flat for three months, and I felt like I was escaping from jail when we managed to get to the south of France with my youngest daughter.

France in mid-June seemed normal after London. The sun shone, the restaurants and beaches were open, people visited the markets and shops and strolled along the port. At the start of the pandemic, the French suffered a draconian lockdown. Policemen patrolled the streets and people were heavily fined if they didn’t fill out their safe-conduct form. This obviously worked to control the virus and the French started to live again, not just exist. But now, with the tourist influx, mask-wearing has become obligatory, and cases seem to be on the rise because of the more irresponsible ‘party beaches’ that this hedonistic haven is famous for. Women, in particular, wear these masks in various jaunty ways.

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