European countries start to relax lockdown measures

France has extended the lockdown by four weeks because of the coronavirus crisis, and the German government has advised on Wednesday about a relaxation of the protective measures. Other European countries have already taken the first cautious steps towards normalization. In Austria, with the partial opening of trade, the “second stage” in the fight against the virus began.


The Tuesday after Easter was marked by the first steps towards normalization. In addition to the already open supermarkets, pharmacies and tobacconists, other smaller shops as well as DIY and garden centers can now reopen. Customers everywhere have to wear masks and adhere to the distance rules. The exit restrictions will remain in effect for the time being, schools and kindergartens will be closed except for childcare options as required, as will hotels and restaurants.


Kindergartens and elementary schools should open again from Wednesday. The middle and high school students have to wait until May 11th. Meetings of more than ten people are still prohibited. The Danish restrictions that will remain for another four weeks include border controls and bans on public gatherings of more than 10 people. Businesses where people are in close contact, like restaurants, salons, or nightclubs, are closed.


In France, President Emmanuel Macron extended the lockdown on Monday evening by four weeks until May 11th. Afterwards, daycare centers and schools should gradually open. However, restaurants, bars, cinemas and theaters will remain closed after May 11th. Entry bans for non-EU countries will also remain “until further notice”.


After all non-vital businesses had to close completely for two weeks due to the coronavirus, the first factories and construction companies were allowed to start work again on Monday. However, the general lockdown imposed on March 14 remains unchanged.


In Italy, the first bookstores and laundries were allowed to reopen on Tuesday – at first on a trial basis. However, the general lockdown imposed on March 12 continues, initially until May 3.

Czech Republic

Czech Health Minister Adam Vojtech announced last week that it would start “a controlled and gradual resumption of normal life”. The government in Prague has already loosened some requirements: some specialty shops were allowed to reopen and for sport there is no longer required to wear a mask.

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