France, Germany Among European Countries Imposing New Restrictions As Second Wave of COVID-19 Cases Climb
As COVID-19 cases are once again on the rise in Europe, several countries have entered another lockdown and re-implemented restrictions to prevent the spread of the virus.
French President Emmanuel Macron has ordered people to stay in their homes except for essential activities like buying food or getting medical care, Reuters reported. This follows the implementation of nightly curfews in several metropolitan areas, including Paris, as well as an order earlier this month to close bars and implement strict protocols on restaurants in the capital city.
Neighboring Germany has ordered non-essential services like restaurants and bars to be shut for at least a month while fellow EU nations like Italy and Spain have scaled back openings as well.
The new measures come as Europe reported 1.3 million new cases in the past seven days as of Tuesday, Reuters reported, citing data from the World Health Organization. Europe also reported more than 11,700 deaths, a 37% increase from the week before.
Here is a breakdown of new COVID-19 restrictions for several European countries.
France will enter its lockdown on Friday, requiring people to stay in their homes except to obtain essential goods or services or exercise for up to one hour each day, Reuters noted. French residents will not be able to leave their homes to work unless their employer deems it necessary. Schools, however, will remain open, Macron tweeted.
“The virus is circulating at a speed that not even the most pessimistic forecasts had anticipated,” he said in a televised address Wednesday, according to the wire service. “Like all our neighbors, we are submerged by the sudden acceleration of the virus… We are all in the same position: overrun by a second wave which we know will be harder, more deadly than the first. I have decided that we need to return to the lockdown which stopped the virus.”
The lockdown comes weeks after Paris closed bars, gyms, pools, and dance halls, as well as forced restaurants in the city to take diners’ contact information and close by 10 p.m. It also follows France’s emergency declaration and nightly curfews in cities throughout the country.
France initially started lifting its first lockdown in May and June, allowing many restaurants, bars, cafes, beaches, and museums to open.
Chancellor Angela Merkel ordered bars, restaurants, and theaters to shut down from Nov. 2 until at least Nov. 30 as the country tries to contain rising case numbers. Germany’s efforts, however, are not a total lockdown as shops will be allowed to stay open with restrictions in place and schools will remain open, Reuters noted.
“We need to take action now,” Merkel told the wire service. “Our health system can still cope with this challenge today, but at this speed of infections it will reach the limits of its capacity within weeks.”
One famous attraction will not be opening this year: the festive Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt, which was cancelled for the first time since WWII.
Germany first started lifting restrictions on things like shops in May.
Italy ordered bars, restaurants, gyms, and movie theaters to close earlier this week until at least Nov. 24, the BBC reported. While schools won’t totally shut down, 75% of high school and university classes will be online.
Additionally, several regions have nightly curfews in place, including Lombardy, where Milan is located. The new restrictions have led to widespread protests.
Italy first reopened its borders to European citizens on June 3, the first country in Europe to do so after its initial phased reopening in May.
Spain imposed a nightly curfew and banned gatherings of different households larger than six people earlier this week amid rising case numbers there, the BBC noted, declaring an emergency. The new restrictions are in place for at least 15 days but could be extended up to six months.
In addition, local authorities have been allowed to ban travel between regions.
Belgium closed gyms and pools earlier this week and ordered shops to close by 8 p.m., the BBC reported. The new restrictions are in place until at least Nov. 19.
This week, Belgium had the highest infection rate in Europe at 1,390 new COVID-19 infections per 100,000 residents, leading to hospitals struggling for available space for patients, according to Reuters.
Belgium lifted its initial restrictions on June 8, allowing restaurants and cafes to open with waiters wearing masks.
Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she’s not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.