Montpellier: Night grocers close four nights a week, “It’s discrimination!”

On Wednesday, June 8, the Administrative Court considered a temporary relief brought by five night grocers from the Antigone sector in Montpellier against the municipal closure decree of January 13, 2022, already reworked after the 2021 appeal.

Night grocers do not waive a municipal ordinance of January 13, 2022 requiring these establishments to close four days a week from Thursday to Sunday, at night from 10 p.m. Easter, All Saints and summer term (June 1 to September 30) in seven sectors from the city. This is the version that has been corrected by the municipality (after appeal in 2021) and therefore slightly less restrictive which was again in the hot seat before the Administrative Court in Montpellier on Wednesday, 8 June.

“They lose 60% to 80% of their numbers”

This time around, five professionals from the Antigone sector, part of 60% of the brands involved, have been forced to lower the curtain at night four days a week since June 1, and they are the ones who advance to the plate through Freedom Brief. They denounce any attack on free trade and the right to property with some key to bankruptcy.

Their lawyer Me Maxime Martinez justified their concerns by presenting balance sheets and the urgency of positioning companies already in deficit: “This situation has now taken a toll on my clients who will be out of business at a time when for some it is 50% of their annual sales. During this period, they have lost 60% to 80% of their numbers”. Not to mention reducing the value of their business for sale “This will allow the city to pre-empt when they are no longer worth anything.”Martinez owes me.

“Alcohol for tourism is only good when it stains establishments!”

Faced with arguments about noise pollution, and the danger of drinking alcohol on a public highway, applicants invoked discrimination as to which 2,000 restaurants, 500 bars and other nightclubs in the city are allowed to sell alcohol until closing, between 1 a.m. and 1 a.m. and 1 A.m. 2 a.m., as well as with regard to online grocery store practices, which are still concerned in the same way by the January 13 ordinance, with the supporting record.

You can get alcoholic drinks on the steps of Saint-Roch

Applicants want to pretend “incompetence” Measures contained in the municipal ordinance. At the same time, raise the issue of practices with the consequent multiple annoyances of “express trade” or express delivery of races at home developed by major retailers, which are already harmful in cities such as Bordeaux or Paris.

The applicants had a report from Bailiff certifying the delivery of strong alcohol, right on the public highway (at 3 place de la Comédie) via a very well-known delivery platform in the city. Bottles were ordered online at 11pm from a major retailer, via a delivery counter and delivered to Main Road, Church Steps.

These brands that are licensed to drink alcohol are usually subject to the same demand as nighttime grocery stores. “Have you leveled the same criticism for these signs?”Martinez asked me to the city attorney. Me Geoffret responded that this happened once in 2022.

“The municipality does not show us the percentage of harassment related to night groceries, if it is a major nuisance, as you are only provided with reports of interference targeting only night groceries,” Their lawyer knocks on the applicants before the president of the court. The incident reports over a two-year period, according to Martinez, involved only 14 establishments or 5% of the city’s nightly grocery stores. “While the decree applies to 60% of establishments.” . “We should shoot the whole city at night and see what it is like when we leave the pubs”, a grocer mourns at the end of the session. To denounce the argument made in the offending decree, on the grounds of combating the dangers of alcoholism, and invoking the bell, Rockstore is partly owned by the city, Fise: “The brewer even made his mark in the town hall! Alcohol for tourism is good except when establishments cause stains! (….) Here we touch on something fundamental, liberties Montpellier is the only city in France that does this for these little things, it’s discrimination “.

Reduced annual closing hours by city

The municipality responded with the voice of its lawyer, Mai-Roman Joffre.PreventGetting rid of his own numbers. A decrease in closing hours between 2020 (the year of Covid) and 2021.When you live above a bar you expect noise, not with groceries, which is why we have so many complaints from neighbors”, confirms to me Romain Joffre, with the support of a representative of the province. According to data from state services, the grocers applying for the application were subjected to administrative closures “At least once since 2019 for selling alcohol or raw gas or selling smuggled cigarettes”.

The administrative judge responded Thursday, June 9.

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