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Covid: How is Europe lifting lockdown restrictions?

By June 20th, 2021COVID

Cruise passengers with guide in Venice, 5 Jun 21

image copyrightAFP

The pace of Europe’s Covid-19 vaccination campaign has picked up and in many countries infection rates have been falling.

Lockdowns are gradually being eased as the summer tourist season gets under way. And the EU’s 27 member states aim to have a digital vaccination certificate for travel in place by July.


  • The night-time curfew, pushed back from 21:00 to 23:00
  • Restaurants, cafes and bars can start serving customers indoors, with 50% capacity, maximum of six people per table
  • Museums, cinemas, sports venues and non-essential shops can increase capacity

From 30 June, according to the current plan, restrictions and the curfew will end.

Man carrying chairs in Paris

image copyrightGetty Images


Under lockdown since November, measures are now being eased. Restrictions remain tighter in high infection rate areas.

Outdoor terraces and restaurants, museums and open-air concerts have reopened.

Some regions, such as the western state of Rhineland-Palatinate, have also opened restaurants indoors in areas where the infection rate is below 50 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants.

German children in the 12-15 age group can now get vaccinated with the Pfizer/BioNTech jab.


  • Restaurants and bars are open for indoor service (maximum four people, unless from same household)
  • Sports venues open up to 25% of capacity
  • Curfew 00:00-05:00, to be scrapped entirely 21 June

Seven regionshave already become “white zones”, the lowest-risk category, where social distancing (1m) and the wearing of masks indoors (and in crowded outdoor places) are the only restrictions.

If the situation continues to improve, more areas expected to join on 14 June, including Rome and Milan.


All indoor businesses, with the exception of nightclubs, are open.

The government has also introduced a “corona pass” for everyone aged over 15.

This pass, on mobile phone or paper, shows if people have:

  • Been vaccinated
  • Been previously infected
  • Had a negative test within 72 hours

People need to show it for entry to cinemas, museums, hairdressers or indoor dining.


The Greek government is letting tourists from many countries enter, if they have been vaccinated or provide a negative coronavirus test.

  • Masks are mandatory in all public places
  • Bars/restaurants are open (six per table)
  • Beaches are open with social distancing
  • Overnight curfew 00:30 – 05:00
  • Museums/outdoor archaeological sites open


Face coverings must be worn in enclosed spaces and 1.5m social distancing observed.

The following are open:

  • Shops hotels, restaurants and bars
  • Museums, art galleries, cinemas and theatres (50% capacity)

Gyms, swimming pools and theme parks opened on 6 June, and weddings of up to 150 people are also allowed.


Spain began welcoming all vaccinated tourists from 7 June, although the UK has kept it on the amber list, meaning that travellers have to quarantine upon their return.

Most European travellers still have to present a negative Covid test on arrival.

Shops, bars, restaurants and museums are open, although masks remain compulsory in most public places.

Brussels group enjoying outdoor meal, 8 May 21

image copyrightEPA


Shops are open, and cafes and restaurants reopened outdoors in May.

Restrictions eased further on 9 June, including indoor hospitality, gyms and cinemas. Households can invite up to four people inside.

Working from home is mandatory but from 9 June staff are allowed to return for one day a week, up to a capacity of 20% of larger offices.


Portugal has lifted many of its restrictions, but a ‘state of calamity’ has been extended until 13 June.

  • Masks are mandatory
  • Shops must shut at 21:00 weekdays (19:00 weekends)
  • Restaurants/street cafes can serve six people at a table indoors (10 outdoors), but must shut at 22:30

UK tourists in the country had to quickly change their plans after the UK government announced it was removing Portugal from its green travel list, amid rising coronavirus cases and concern over a “Nepal mutation of the so-called Indian variant”.

A couple wearing masks walk with their child across the Dom Luis I Bridge in Porto, Portugal

image copyrightReuters

The Netherlands

The Dutch government moved to the next stage of its lockdown-easing plan on 5 June, with nearly everything reopening:

  • Four people can visit someone’s private home
  • Restaurants and cafes can serve meals indoors and outdoors (06:00-22:00), four per table with 1.5m social distancing
  • Museums/historic buildings can reopen inside (with capacity limits)

A decision on further easing on 30 June will be made on 22 June.

Republic of Ireland

Holiday accommodation opened on 2 June. Since 7 June, unvaccinated households have been able to welcome one other unvaccinated household (there is a vaccine bonus for vaccinated homes).

Restaurants/bars can also open outside for groups of up to six customers aged 13 or over, and up to 25 people can attend weddings.

Subject to approval, the next easing will be on 5 July.


Sweden tried to avoid imposing lockdown rules last year, but it’s now the last Scandinavian country to start easing restrictions. Most businesses are open.

  • Bars and pubs can stay open until 22:30 instead of 20:30
  • Rules have been relaxed on the number of people allowed to attend sports events, outdoor concerts, cinemas and markets

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