PARIS - "Chez Francoise" is a discreetly located venue near the French parliament whose visitors' book boasts signatures from former leaders including Nicolas Sarkozy and Francois Hollande. Options include a "Menu Parlementaire" - three courses including wild boar pate with chestnuts, veal and crepes suzette. In late September, as a second wave of COVID-19 infection loomed, government scientific advisers wanted new restrictions on bars, restaurants and cafes. Fearing his business would suffer, Pascal Mousset, who owns Chez Francoise and four other restaurants in the French capital, decided to seek help from an old contact. "For pity's sake, don't close Paris," Mousset texted to Alain Griset, a junior minister at the finance and economy ministry. Mousset recounted the exchange in an interview with Reuters. Until Griset joined the government in July, the politician was a regular at "Chez Francoise." Griset said he had known Mousset for years, but that their contacts over COVID-19 were part of a normal exchange of views between government and business representatives. Mousset's effort illustrates a broader campaign in France and globally by business owners to push back against curbs sought by scientists to slow the COVID-19 pandemic. In Paris, it appeared to help, at least for a while. Restaurants and cafes stayed open for a few more weeks. It's a fight that has played out in different ways around the world. In France,
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