Some European Countries to Relax Lockdown Rules for Holiday Season

By Anna Breuer on 8 December 2020
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The Wiener Christkindlmarkt at the Rathausplatz

Officials in multiple European countries said they are planning to loosen coronavirus restrictions over the holidays to allow families and friends to gather.

Britain will allow up to three households to form a Christmas bubble and spend time together in private homes over a four-day period that starts on December 23.

While officials in Germany extended a partial lockdown through at least January 10, 2021 (except in Bavaria, which is now under a fairly strict stay-at-home order), they will allow private gatherings of up to ten people from any number of households.

Austria scaled back its second lockdown this week but Bundeskanzler Sebastian Kurz reminded his fellow countrymen that there are “lots of days until Christmas” and that shoppers should “spread out” their shopping. Restaurants, theaters, and bars remain closed until January 6, 2021, and hotels are open only to business travelers. Unlike in most other European countries, Austria will reopen its ski slopes for day trips, but hotels in ski resort areas will remain closed.

Officials in Belgium, a country that reported more coronavirus-related deaths per capita than any other country and a higher rate of infection than all but three, will ease measures there for Christmas, officials there said.  Just as non-essential shops were permitted to reopen in order to allow for holiday shopping, Belgians were told that they could invite one person from outside their immediate household to celebrate, and someone who lives by himself could invite two.  Regardless of the number of guests, the government only wants one guest to use the W.C. during the visit.

Meanwhile, the nationwide curfew in France that will be in effect starting December 15 when the country’s lockdown ends will be suspended from Christmas Eve to New Year’s Eve.

Finally, Spain will limit gatherings to ten people and travel will be permitted to visit friends and family between regions of the country. Finally, Norway will allow up to ten guests at a private gathering during the holidays.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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