Coronavirus: How lockdown is being lifted across Europe


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After nearly seven weeks of blockade in the UK, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to announce the next phase of the country's response to the coronavirus pandemic.


The government has repeatedly emphasized that the UK should not risk a "second peak" and says it intends to proceed with "extreme caution".

Across Europe, people are already seeing a relaxation of blocking measures, as companies reopen and children start going back to school.


Here's how Europeans are emerging from life under confinement.

Germany: Shops reopen and football resumes


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Bayern Munich is among the Bundesliga clubs that have recently returned to training

Germany has begun to open up and control of the lifting of the blockade will now be in the hands of Germany's 16 federal states. But Chancellor Angela Merkel emphasized that an "emergency brake" will be applied wherever there is an increase in new infections.

  • Stores of all sizes now it is allowed to reopen, with extra measures of hygiene and social distance
  • Stores under 800 m2 have been open since April 20, along with car dealerships, bicycle shops and bookstores
  • Schools have been partially reopened for young children and those taking exams. All other classes will gradually return over the summer period
  • Bundesliga football matches resume behind closed doors on Saturday, May 16 – the first major European league to do so
  • Two different families are now allowed to meet
  • Major public events like festivals are prohibited until at least the end of August

France: end of travel permits

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France residents will no longer need to provide travel certificates as of May 11

France's strict blockade was imposed on March 17 and residents were required to provide a travel authorization justifying all trips abroad. As of May 11, these restrictions will be relaxed and after three weeks the situation will be reviewed.

  • Residents will no longer need to provide travel certificates , and car travel of up to 100 km (62 miles) will be permitted. Longer trips will require a certificate and, during peak Paris hours, you will still need authorization from your employer or a compelling reason to travel
  • France will be divided into two, with four "red zones"including Paris keeping 11 to 18 year old parks, gardens and schools closed
  • Primary school and nurseries will start reopening from May 11, while 11 to 15 year old schools (faculties) in "green zones" opened on 18 May. A limit of 15 students will be placed in classrooms and masks will be mandatory for older children. Schools aged 15 to 18 (lycées) do not open until June
  • All stores (bar shopping centers in Paris) may reopen; Leisure centers and cemeteries can reopen, but bars and restaurants will remain closed
  • Meetings less than 10 people will also be allowed; the elderly and vulnerable you will be allowed to leave, but you must use common sense

Ireland: five steps and small summer weddings

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Ireland is introducing a five-step plan to reopen the country

Ireland suffered a stricter blockade than the United Kingdom, with residents allowed to exercise less than 2 km from their homes. But a five-step roadmap to reopen the country begins on May 18, with restrictions decreased every three weeks.

  • Schools will remain closed until September, while outside workers such as construction workers and gardeners will be able to resume activities from May 18
  • Nurseries and nurseries it will be open to the children of essential workers from 29 June, and will be extended to the children of other workers from 20 July. Childcare workers will be sent to the homes of 5,000 essential workers from May 18
  • Social visits other families will be allowed from June 8, and from June 29, people will be able to travel within a 20 km radius of their homes
  • Weddings, baptisms and small social gatherings will be allowed from July 20, but only for family and close friends
  • Stores the sale of non-essential items may open from June 8, if the number of employees and customers remains small, and larger facilities from June 29

Belgium: four people in their social bubble

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Restrictions are being lifted slowly in a country that has suffered a high number of deaths in nursing homes. "We will have to resume our social life very gradually," said Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès when detailing the route from Belgium.

  • As of May 10, people living in the same house are being allowed to receive visits of a group of up to four people. But these people will not be able to visit anywhere else
  • Fabric stores reopened on May 4, as new regulations require all Belgians aged 12 and over to wear masks on public transport
  • From others stores reopens from May 11, subject to strict adherence to the guidelines for social distance
  • Schools will resume classes from May 18, but no more than 10 children will be allowed in each classroom
  • Cafes and restaurants will begin to open from June 8

Netherlands: Hairdressers and nail polishes back in business

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Dutch hairdressers will now be able to resume work

The Netherlands imposed a much less severe blockade than its northern neighbor. Prime Minister Mark Rutte presented a five-step plan to ease the blocking restrictions that take effect from 11 May.

  • Libraries will be open to visitors and hairdressers, nail polishes, beauticians, massage therapists and occupational therapists you can return to work from May 11th. Primary school will also partially reopen
  • Bars and restaurants will be able to open its outdoor spaces to customers from June 1st; secondary schools will also reopen
  • Public transport services will resume pre-blocking hours as long as travelers wear masks
  • Campsites and vacations may reopen from July 1, as well as theaters, restaurants and cinemas with up to 100 customers with social distance
  • Larger events and contact sports may resume in September, along with sex clubs and saunas

Austria: tourist attractions to reopen

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Outdoor sports that can be socially distanced, such as tennis, are now allowed in Austria

Austria was one of the first countries to facilitate its blockade. The Health Minister says the reopening of small stores in mid-April has not caused an increase in cases, with new infections increasing by just 0.2%. But he said that May would be the "decisive month".

  • Large stores, shopping malls and hairdressers reopened in early May
  • Public parks, small shops, DIY stores and garden centers were allowed to open since April 14
  • Outdoor sports that can be socially distanced, like tennis, golf and athletics, is now allowed
  • Meetings of up to 10 people are allowed since the beginning of May
  • Restaurants and Cafes will open from mid-May, while hotels, zoos, swimming pools and tourist attractions will open from the end of the month
  • Students in the last year of school returned to school in early May. Other years will begin to return from the middle of the month

Denmark: Restrictions eased since mid-April

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Denmark started to reverse blocking measures earlier than some other nations

Denmark, one of the first European countries to announce a blockade, began reversing measures in mid-April and is moving forward with the second phase of its roadmap.

  • Nursery and Primary school returned on April 14, although parents and visitors are not allowed on the school premises and children arrive and leave the school at different times. Children12-16 years will return from May 18, as well as exam students
  • Hairdressers, beauty salons and massages, optometrists, podiatrists and chiropractors reopened on April 20
  • Professional sport is allowed behind closed doors, along with amateur sport under guidelines
  • Shopping centers, cafes and restaurants should reopen on May 11 with guidelines for social distance
  • Social gatherings are limited to 10 people
  • Borders stay closed
  • Phase 3 starts on June 8 and covers museums, cinemas, zoos, sports and colleges
  • Phase 4 in early August will include gyms, swimming pools and nightclubs

Spain: Schools remain closed until September

Spain drafted a four-step plan on May 4 to begin reversing one of Europe's most rigid roadblocks, which saw children under the age of 14 confined to their homes for six weeks. Restrictions will be reduced in two-week blocks until June 10, subject to review if cases increase.

  • Schools will be partially reopened from May 26. This will allow for review classes and state exams, but a full reopening is not expected until September
  • Starting on May 11th, customers can order a beer at a rooftop bar, but Bars and restaurants will not fully reopen until June 10, following strict social distance guidelines and with only 50% of capacity
  • Cinemas, theaters and exhibitions may open from May 26, but will only be able to operate at 30% capacity. Open-air concerts of up to 400 people will be allowed if concert goers remain at a safe distance from each other
  • Churches and mosques may reopen from May 11, but only with partial capacity

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Media captionThe blockade has eased in Spain, but there are still time restrictions for when people can be outdoors

Italy: Funeral meetings now allowed

Italy imposed a strict and prolonged blockade, prohibiting walking or exercising more than 200 meters away from home. In early May, some restrictions were relaxed and people are now able to travel long distances, as well as visiting their relatives in small numbers. Visits to other regions of the country are still prohibited.

  • Bars and restaurants, which can offer delivery services, is expected to reopen fully for meal service from 1 June
  • Hair stylist and Beauty salons should reopen from June 1st
  • More stores will reopen on May 18, along with museums and libraries
  • Sports teams will also be able to perform group training from 18 May
  • Funerals are now allowed with a maximum of 15 people present, ideally outdoors
  • Schools will not reopen until September
  • O Catholic church may hold masses from May 18

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Media caption"We risk everything to survive" – ​​Filomena, resident of Naples

Greece: Central tourism to reopen plan

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Schools in Greece prepare to reopen on May 10

Greece registered its first Covid-19 case on February 26 and the government acted quickly to impose a blockade. The rules were relaxed on April 28, when people were allowed to leave for the first time without notifying local authorities.

  • Churches open for individual prayer on May 4 and religious services will be allowed from May 17
  • Schools and Universities are due to reopen on May 10, with special measures, including students attending classes on different days. University exams will resume on June 15
  • Stores reopen on May 11 and indoor shopping centers June 1
  • Cafes and restaurants will open on June 1st, but only with outdoor seating and a clear distance between chairs

Greek scientists are working on rules on cleanliness, social distance and testing to open the country to tourists this summer. Beaches reopened on May 4.

Poland: Parks and forests are the first to reopen

In Poland, Covid-19's numbers are lower than in many Western European countries – 15,000 confirmed infections and more than 700 deaths, according to the United States' Johns Hopkins University. It began to lift restrictions on April 20, when parks and forests were allowed to reopen.

  • Hotels, shops, shopping centers, museums and galleries reopened on May 4, with a client for 15 m² of space allowed
  • Nurseries option was given to reopen from 6 May
  • Face covers in public will remain mandatory until a vaccine is available

Sweden: Strict restrictions never imposed

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Strictly speaking, there was no real blockade, so Sweden doesn't have much to remove. He never imposed measures like those seen in the rest of the continent.

  • Restaurants, bars, schools and Business remained open. But it banned meetings of more than 50 people and visits to nursing homes
  • Sweden recorded more than 3,000 deaths, the highest number per capita compared to the rest of the Nordic countries
  • The majority of the population took voluntary social distance. many are Working at homeguarding at least one meter away from other people at least part of the time and refrain from traveling.

Did Sweden get your science right?

Russia: Not ready to lift blockade

Unlike other European countries, Russia's outbreak is still at its peak and at least 10,000 new infections were reported daily last week. There will still be no end to the blockade.

  • President Vladimir Putin left it to local governors to decide on the best policy
  • Moscow, as the hardest-hit city, has imposed the most stringent restrictions that will continue until at least May 31
  • As of May 12, the use of gloves and masks in shops and public transport in Moscow will be mandatory
  • Only food stores and pharmacies are open. Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin says it is too early to open nonessential stores and shopping centers
  • Schools are closed and many people are working from home. There is currently no plan on how to reopen them. Traveling within Moscow and also between cities is discouraged. Many cities have police cordons and only those with residential registration are allowed.

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