Corona outbreak: Five ways Europe is easing lockdown

Tuesday, May 26th, 2020 00:00 |
An Intensive Care Unit for Covid-19 patients in the Gilberto Novaes Hospital. Photo/AFP

Europe is opening up further, with its citizens tasting freedoms they missed during the coronavirus pandemic.

The scope of the relaxation varies but here are some of the highlights.

1. Czechs can have a beer

The beer-loving Czechs can finally get back into pubs, albeit with social distancing and mask-wearing indoors. It is the country with the highest per capita beer consumption in the world.

Monday marks the final stage in the Czech Republic’s staged easing of lockdown.

2. Spaniards can visit museums

Spain had one of Europe’s toughest lockdowns but in the big cities parks, museums and other cultural centres are reopening under the country’s four-phase easing of restrictions.

There are strict limits on numbers: indoor sites can only operate at one-third capacity, while outdoor events are limited to a maximum crowd of 200.

Phase one of easing covers more than half of the population and includes Spain’s two main cities, Madrid and Barcelona. In both bars are now allowed to open terraces at 50 per cent capacity and people can meet in groups of up to 10. But free movement is not allowed between Barcelona and its wider metropolitan area.

3. Italians can go for a swim

Italy is reopening gyms and swimming pools, but with strict hygiene and social distancing rules.

Besides Lombardy, the reopening is also being delayed in Basilicata in the south and in Bologna. Sports facilities in Lombardy remain closed until May 31.

There are elaborate rules for gyms and swimming pools, as reported by Ansa news agency, including:

Only a few users allowed into changing rooms at a time, and they must stay 1m (3ft) distant from each other. Gym users to stay at least 2m apart during exercise session, no group activities.

4. Greeks can visit islands

Greece is opening up its many islands to travellers from the mainland, but not to foreign tourists yet.

It means many Greeks with island holiday homes can get to their places to relax - and support the struggling local economy. 

Last week, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said the country would open up to international tourism from June 15. 

5. Polish learners can go to school

On Monday it is the turn of many Polish children to go back to class. But some parents have said they will keep their children at home as the school year is due to end on June 26 and they do not think it is worth risking infection for a few weeks in the classroom. - BBC

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