Explainers

Coronavirus: How lockdown is being lifted across Europe

A woman wearing a face mask rides her bicycle in Paris, with the Eiffel Tower captured behind her Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Face masks are an increasingly common sight throughout Europe

Across Europe, lockdown measures are being lifted cautiously, in phases.

Businesses are reopening and many children are back in school. Here is how Europeans are emerging from life under lockdown.

Germany: Shops reopen and football resumes

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Image caption Bayern Munich are among a number of Bundesliga clubs to have recently returned to training

Germany has begun opening up: control of lifting the lockdown will now be in the hands of Germany's 16 federal states. But Chancellor Angela Merkel has stressed that an ''emergency brake'' will be applied anywhere that sees a surge in new infections.

  • Bundesliga football matches resumed behind closed doors on Saturday 16 May - the first big European league to do so
  • Shops of all sizes are now allowed to reopen, with extra hygiene and social distancing measures
  • Shops smaller than 800 sq m have been allowed to open since 20 April, alongside car dealerships, bicycle shops and bookshops
  • Schools have been partially reopened for young children and those taking exams
  • Border controls were eased on 15 May with Austria, France and Switzerland and will be lifted on 15 June
  • Two different households are now allowed to meet up with each other
  • Big public events like festivals are banned until at least the end of August
  • Chancellor Angela Merkel has extended social distancing rules until 29 June

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Italy: Funeral gatherings and more travel permitted

Italy imposed a strict and lengthy lockdown on 7 March - initially in the north, then nationwide - with a ban on walking or exercising more than 200m (656ft) from home.

In early May, some restrictions were relaxed and people are now able to travel for longer distances, as well as visit their relatives in small numbers. Travel between regions and to and from the country will be allowed from 3 June.

  • Bars and restaurants reopened on 18 May, but hosting reduced numbers of diners, with tables further apart and plastic shields to separate customers
  • Hairdressers also reopened on 18 May, as did more shops, museums and libraries, and sports teams are able to hold group training
  • Catholic Church masses resumed from 18 May, but with strict social distancing and wearing of face masks
  • Funerals are now allowed with a maximum of 15 people attending, ideally outdoors
  • Schools will not reopen until September
  • Gyms and swimming pools reopened in most regions on 25 May, with strict social distancing rules, but not in Lombardy, the northern region at the epicentre of Italy's crisis
  • Serie A football is set to return on 20 June
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Media caption"We risked everything to survive" - Naples resident Filomena

France: Moving to phase two

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Image caption A deserted beachfront in Nice under lockdown

France's strict lockdown was imposed on 17 March, with residents required to provide a travel permit justifying any outdoor trips. Restrictions began to ease on 11 May, with Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announcing a further easing of measures under phase two from 2 June - including an end to a 100km travel limit:

  • Nearly all of France is now in a so-called "green zone", where restrictions can ease faster. Paris has moved from a red to an orange zone
  • Bars and restaurants can reopen in the green zone under phase two, with outside areas able to reopen in the orange zone. Parks and gardens in Paris can finally open again
  • Primary schools and nurseries began reopening after 11 May and schools for 11 to 15 year-olds (collèges) in green zones on 18 May. A limit of 15 pupils is put on classrooms and masks are compulsory for older children. Schools for 15 to 18-year-olds (lycées) reopen in green zones as part of phase two
  • Gatherings of fewer than 10 people are also permitted; the elderly and vulnerable are allowed out, but must use common sense
  • Beaches have also begun reopening under tight restrictions; cinemas will start reopening on 22 June.

Baltic countries: The first 'travel bubble' in Europe

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The three Baltic states - Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia - became the first countries in Europe to allow free movement again, but only with each other.

From 15 May citizens and residents could move freely across the three countries, provided they had not travelled outside the Baltic states in the past two weeks, were not infected, and not in contact with an infected person.

Those coming from elsewhere still have to self-isolate for 14 days. Estonia has since said several countries would not be affected by quarantine from 1 June, including Germany, France and Austria.

Ireland: Five steps and small summer weddings

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Image caption Ireland has a five-stage plan to reopen the country

Ireland has had a stricter lockdown than the UK, with residents only allowed to exercise within 2km (1.2 miles) of their homes. But a five-stage roadmap to reopen the country started on 18 May, with restrictions eased every three weeks.

  • Schools will remain shut until September, while outdoor workers such as construction workers and gardeners resumed activities from 18 May; you can meet friends or family in groups of up to four within 5km of home; anyone arriving in Ireland has to go into self-isolation for 14 days
  • Creches and nurseries will open for the children of essential workers from 29 June, and this will be extended to the children of other workers from 20 July
  • Social visits will be permitted to other households from 8 June, and from 29 June, people will be allowed to travel within a 20km radius of their homes
  • Weddings, baptisms and small social gatherings will be allowed from 20 July, but only for family and close friends
  • Shops selling non-essential items can open from 8 June if the number of staff and customers remains small, and larger premises can open from 29 June
  • Visitors to the UK from Ireland will be exempt from the UK's two-week mandatory quarantine for international visitors, which starts on 8 June

Belgium: Four people in your social bubble

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Image caption A classroom in Izel, Belgium

Restrictions are slowly being lifted in a country that has seen a high number of deaths in care homes.

  • Since 10 May, people in the same household have been allowed to receive visits from a group of up to four people
  • Fabric shops reopened on 4 May, as new regulations require all Belgians aged 12 or over to wear masks on public transport
  • Other shops reopened on 11 May, with strict social distancing
  • Schools resumed classes from 18 May, but no more than 10 children are allowed in each classroom
  • Markets, museums and zoos also reopened from 18 May, with social distancing rules
  • Hairdressers and beauty salons reopened on 18 May
  • Cafes and restaurants will start to open from 8 June

No public sporting or cultural events can take place before 30 June.

Netherlands: Hairdressers and nail bars back in business

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Image caption Dutch hairdressers - as in other countries - observe strict hygiene rules

The Netherlands imposed a far less strict lockdown than next-door Belgium. Prime Minister Mark Rutte unveiled a five-phase plan for easing lockdown restrictions, which kicked in from 11 May.

  • Libraries are open again and hairdressers, nail bars, beauticians, masseuses and occupational therapists went back to work from 11 May
  • Bars and restaurants will open to customers from 1 June for up to 30 guests inside and unlimited numbers outside, provide people maintain 1.5m distance. Cinemas, theatres and concert halls will also open subject to a 30-guest maximum, and face masks become mandatory on public transport the same day for anyone aged 13 and over
  • Secondary school pupils return to class on 2 June
  • Campsites and holiday parks can reopen from 1 July, as can theatres, restaurants and cinemas with up to 100 customers with social distancing
  • Larger events and contact sports may resume in September, along with sex clubs and saunas
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Media captionThe glass cabin allows families to see each other in real time

Austria: Weddings and outdoor sport

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Image caption Outdoor sport that can be socially distanced such as tennis is now allowed in Austria

Austria was one of the first countries to ease its lockdown. The health minister said the reopening of small shops in mid-April didn't cause a spike in cases.

  • Larger shops, shopping centres and hairdressers reopened in early May
  • Public parks, small shops, DIY stores and garden centres have been allowed to open since 14 April
  • Outdoor sport that can be socially distanced, such as tennis, golf and athletics, is now allowed
  • Gatherings of up to 10 people have been allowed since the start of May
  • Restaurants and cafes reopened from mid-May, while gyms, open air swimming pools, hotels and some cinemas opened at the end of May, with weddings involving up to 100 people also allowed
  • Final-year school pupils returned to classes at the start of May

Denmark: Restrictions eased since mid-April

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Image caption Denmark started to roll back lockdown measures earlier than some other nations

Denmark, one of the first European countries to announce a lockdown, started to ease restrictions in mid-April.

  • Day care centres and primary schools returned on 14 April, although parents and visitors are not allowed on school premises and children attend in shifts. Children aged 12-16 returned from 18 May, as well as exam students
  • Hairdressers, beauty and massage salons, optometrists, podiatrists and chiropractors reopened on 20 April
  • Professional sport is allowed behind closed doors with football's Super Liga returning on 28 May
  • Shopping centres reopened on 11 May with social distancing guidelines
  • Social gatherings are limited to 10 people
  • Cafes and restaurants reopened on 18 May, with social distancing, then cinemas, theatres, museums and art galleries reopened on 21 May also with social distancing
  • Borders remain shut for most people, but reopen for tourists from Norway, Iceland and Germany on 15 June
  • Phase 3 starts on 8 June and covers museums, cinemas, indoor sports and colleges
  • Phase 4 in early August will include gyms, swimming pools and nightclubs

Spain: Schools to remain shut until September

Spain outlined a four-stage plan on 4 May to start easing one of the strictest lockdowns in Europe, which saw children under 14 confined to their homes for six weeks.

Spain said it was moving to a second phase from 1 June for 70% of Spaniards, but Madrid, Barcelona and some other regions were remaining under tighter phase-one restrictions.

  • Face masks are compulsory for anyone aged six and over in public, both inside and outside, if it isn't possible to maintain social distance
  • Schools were partially reopened from 26 May. This will allow for revision classes and state exams but a full reopening is not expected until September
  • From 11 May customers were able to order a beer in a terrace bar, but bars and restaurants will not fully reopen until 10 June, adhering to strict social distancing guidelines and only at 50% capacity
  • Cinemas, theatres and exhibitions began reopening on 26 May, but only at 30% capacity. Outdoor concerts of up to 400 people are permitted if concert-goers remain at a safe distance from each other
  • Spain's renowned La Liga football championship is set to resume on 11 June
  • From 1 July people travelling from abroad - including tourists - will no longer have to spend two weeks in quarantine on arrival in Spain
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Media captionThe lockdown has eased in Spain, but there are still time restrictions on when people can be outdoors

Switzerland: Museums and restaurants return

Switzerland began easing its eight-week lockdown in stages from 27 April.

  • Garden centres, hairdressers and beauty salons were allowed to reopen on 27 April
  • Schools, libraries, museums and non-food shops followed on 11 May, with strict distancing measures
  • So too did restaurants, bars and cafes with a limit of four guests per table, with tables 2m apart
  • Hand sanitiser is being provided at railway stations and passengers are advised to wear masks on public transport
  • From 30 May groups of up to 30 people can meet, rising from five currently
  • Summer camps, cinemas and theatres can open from 6 June, with public events of up to 300 people allowed

Portugal: Small, local businesses first

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Image caption A Lisbon cafe back in business - with personal protection

Portugal has had fewer coronavirus cases and deaths than some other south European nations.

The government announced a three-phase plan, reopening different sectors of the economy every 15 days.

  • Small neighbourhood shops, hairdressers, car dealerships and bookshops started opening from 4 May
  • Bigger shops, restaurants, museums and coffee shops reopened from 18 May, but at reduced capacity
  • Infants and some secondary school students also went back on 18 May, but all other school classes will continue remotely
  • Shopping centres, cinemas and theatres to open in June, when office workers might also gradually return

Greece: Tourism central to reopening plan

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Image caption Schools in Greece reopened on 11 May

Greece recorded its first Covid-19 case on 26 February and the government acted swiftly to impose a lockdown. On 28 April, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced a relaxation of lockdown measures in the weeks ahead.

  • Churches opened for individual prayer on 4 May and religious services were allowed from 17 May
  • Schools reopened on 11 May for final-year students only, with special measures including students attending classes on different days
  • Shops are now all able to reopen and indoor shopping centres can do so on 1 June
  • Cafes and restaurants reopened on 25 May, but with social distancing
  • Beaches reopened on 4 May and Greece has declared that the tourist season will start on 15 June, with the opening of seasonal hotels on the same day
  • Travel to the islands resumed on 25 May for mainland Greeks, but not for foreign tourists; from 1 July Greece is set to lift the two-week quarantine rule for foreigners
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Russia: Starting to go back to work

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Image caption Moscow is keeping restrictions in place until at least the end of May

President Vladimir Putin announced that Russia's nationwide lockdown was being eased from 12 May, and that businesses could go back to work to stop unemployment rising further. He also said it was up to individual regions to decide the best policy. But Russia's daily infection rate remains high, compared with the rest of Europe.

  • Construction and industry were the first sectors to resume work, under President Putin's plan
  • But large public events are still be banned
  • Moscow, as the worst-hit city, is keeping tough restrictions until 1 June, when regular walks are allowed and parks and non-essential businesses reopen
  • It is compulsory to wear gloves and masks in shops and on public transport in Moscow
  • Schools are shut and many people are working from home

Poland: Parks and forests first to reopen

In Poland, Covid-19 numbers are lower than in many Western European countries. Most of the recent infections have been amongst the country's coal miners in the southern Silesia region. Poland began lifting restrictions on 20 April, when parks and forests were allowed to reopen.

  • Hotels, shops, shopping centres, museums and galleries reopened on 4 May, with one customer per 15 sq m of space allowed
  • Face coverings in public will remain obligatory until a vaccine is available
  • Restaurants, cafes, hairdressers and beauty salons reopened from 18 May
  • Primary schools reopened on 25 May, but only for the youngest children, and final-year university students were also allowed back to class
  • The Ekstraklasa football championship returned on 29 May, with fans allowed back from 19 June, and maximum attendance in stadiums set at 25%

Sweden: Strict measures never imposed

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There was no compulsory lockdown in Sweden, unlike the measures seen elsewhere in Europe. But in line with government advice, most people took to voluntary social distancing and working from home.

  • Restaurants, bars, schools and businesses remained opened. But it did ban gatherings of more than 50 people
  • Sweden has recorded over 4,000 deaths, the highest per capita number in the Nordic region
  • When Denmark and Norway agreed to reopen their borders to each other, from 15 June, Sweden was left out because of its high rate of infection

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