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Europe’s Different Approaches to Opening Up – How Greece Compares

Europe opening up coronavirus
Europe is opening up following coronavirus restrictions, allowing its citizens to relax after a difficult year. Credit: Prelvini/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 4.0

Most countries in Europe have begun the process of opening up their economies following strict coronavirus lockdowns. However, each country is tackling their re-opening slightly differently, with each nation on a distinct timeline.

Read on to discover how Greece compares on the lifting of coronavirus restrictions with other European nations.

Europe opening up after coronavirus lockdowns

The increasing speed of vaccination campaigns and summer temperatures have allowed many European countries to start easing restrictions.

About 30 percent of people in Italy, France, Spain, Poland and the Czech Republic have been vaccinated with at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine, compared with 37 percent in Germany and 55 percent in Britain.

Overall, Europe has seen a 60% drop in the number of infections in the past month, the World Health Organization said on Thursday, although a senior official warned “this progress is fragile.”

Roadmap out of lockdown

Austria: The central European country has just began to open up following a six month lockdown. On Wednesday, restaurants opened, as did the tourism, culture, and sports sectors across the country.

Belgium: Although the small country does not have a curfew as strict as Greece’s, between midnight and 5 AM only groups of at maximum three people are allowed to move freely.

By June 9 Belgium has announced that they will try to ease all of their coronavirus restrictions, as long as their vaccination campaign continues at a satisfactory pace and patients being treated in intensive care get to be under 500. On Saturday, May 22, Belgium had 544 patients in the ICU, whereas Greece only had 42 more at 586.

Britain: Non-essential retail stores re-opened in England on April 12 alongside external areas of pubs and restaurants. Greece’s bars and restaurants reopened almost a month later, on May 3. Interior dining, as well as other hospitality industry interior spaces such as cinemas and theaters reopened on May 17 in England.

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland follow different but similar schedules.

France: The first big step that this country in Europe took for opening up after their strict coronavirus lockdown was on May 19, when national curfew was eased to begin from 9 PM instead of 7 PM. Bars, restaurants and cafes were also allowed to reopen on the same day, operating at only 50 percent capacity. Disneyland Paris will also be reopening on June 17.

Germany: Germany has eased restrictions on those who have been fully vaccinated or have recovered from the virus since May 9, lifting the curfew and quarantine rules. However, a negative coronavirus test is still required for hairdressers, zoos and shopping malls.

From 12 May, visitors will be allowed to enter the country without the need to quarantine, except for those arriving from countries considered to be at risk.

Spain: The country famed for its beautiful beaches has differing coronavirus restrictions based on which autonomous region is being discussed. However, travel between regions was finally allowed on May 9. From May 24 on, British and Japanese travelers will be able to enter Spain without PCR testing necessary.

Italy: Cafes, bars, restaurants, cinemas and theaters opened in most areas on April 26, with restaurant interiors opening on June 1. The use of a mask is mandatory for all citizens both indoors and outdoors, which is similar to current regulations in Greece.

Italy’s curfew will be lifted on June 21 — there is still no information on whether the same will occur in Greece.

Following a short round-up of restrictions around the continent, it is clear that Europe is generally opening up following a long winter filled with coronavirus restrictions. The new “Digital Green Certificate” is meant to aid this easing of regulations, allowing people to travel around Europe more safely and conveniently.

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