Here’s How Austria, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, and Switzerland Are Reopening

Visitors at the Gutenberg Museum in Mainz observing a printing demonstration

By Anna Breuer on 2 June 2020
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As the coronavirus wanes in parts of the globe, a number of countries are taking the first steps in reopening their economies.

Here’s a look at how six European nations – Austria, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, and Switzerland – are in the process of doing so.


Austria reopened a number of shops in mid April and reported no spikes in the number of new coronavirus patients in the country. Restaurants, cafés, bars, churches, and some museums reopened on May 15. Cultural events with a limit of 100 people will be allowed to take place in June; the limit will rise to 1,000 people in August.  Face masks are required as is social distancing.


Germany was greatly impacted by the coronavirus and the number of infections placed it among the top ten in the world, but it nonetheless has the lowest fatality rate of any country.  Bundeskanzler Angela Merkel said that the ingredients for a successful reopening would be “social distancing, face masks, and respect.”Cafés, restaurants, museums, shops, and places of worship have already reopened with strict social-distancing rules in place.

The Gutenberg Museum in Mainz, named after the inventor of moveable type, Johannes Gutenberg, who was born there, is one of the oldest museums of its type in the world.  Appropriately enough, it prints makes complimentary face masks for visitors.


Ireland will begin Phase 2 of its reopening on June 8. Starting then, residents will be permitted to travel up to 12.5 miles (20 kilometers) from their homes, versus 3.1 (5) now.  Small shops will also be permitted to reopen then, with a limit in the number of people working in the shop at any given point. Public libraries can open then as well, with limits on the number of people inside, and a requirement for both strict hand-washing and social distancing.  There will be a phased reopening of cafés, restaurants, shops that haven’t yet reopened, and childcare facilities starting June 29.


Italy, which was the first epicenter of the coronavirus in Europe, will allow 50 museums and archeological parks to reopen on June 2, which is also a national holiday, Festa della Repubblica.  Matches in Italy’s Serie A football championship will restart on June 20.


Cafés, restaurants, bars, cinemas, theaters, and concert halls were allowed to reopen on June 1. Secondary schools reopened on June 2. Primary schools will reopen on June 8. Students and teachers must all stay 5’ (1.5 meters) apart.  Those over the age of 13 must wear a mask on public transportation.


Switzerland will allow public and private events with up to 300 people starting June 6.  Such events may include fairs, concerts, plays, film screenings, political, and family events. Fitness centers will also open without any restrictions on the same day. Instruction at upper secondary and vocational schools as well as at universities will resume on June 8.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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