Summer Time for 2021 Begins Sunday in a European Union Grappling with a Third Wave

The Williamsburgh Savings Bank Tower clock in Brooklyn

By Jesse Sokolow on 25 March 2021
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PARIS—One year ago, Europe changed its clocks in the grip of a great unknown, a new coronavirus that was moving rapidly across the Continent. More than a year after the outbreak was declared a pandemic, Europe continues to struggle with the virus amidst a third wave of infections, a botched vaccination program, and an increase of lockdown measures.

Now, for what may be one of the last times, clocks in the European Union will change on Sunday at 1 a.m. GMT. At that time, which is 2 a.m. in Central Europe, clocks should be set ahead by one hour.

Given the wave of lockdowns not to mention the increase in new infections, a different question emerges: will anyone notice, and will anyone care?

A few might even ask, what is the point, although the process does arguably bring one a step closer to the end of a siege at the hand of an invisible enemy with herd immunity from vaccination programs likely by the next time the clocks must change.

Soon enough, the clocks will stop changing at all: the European Parliament in 2019 voted to end the shift that jolts our circadian rhythms, and member states will – if they come out from under lockdown – choose whether to remain permanently on summer or on winter time. That this will create a situation in which neighboring countries in the bloc could be effectively in different time zones is another story, far beyond the purview of this feature.

For now, however, the change puts both sides of the Atlantic back in sync after a three-week period that followed the switch to Daylight Saving Time, on March 14, in most of the United States and Canada.

Summer Time, called Sommerzeit in Austria and Germany and British Summer Time or BST in the United Kingdom, will end October 31, 2021 and return March 27, 2021. Daylight Saving Time in the United States and Canada will end November 7, 2021 and resume March 13, 2022.

Meanwhile, if you haven’t set all of your watches and clocks, it may not matter because time for many has stood still.  To be honest, some of us may not be sure if it’s Sunday or Monday right now anyway.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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