News World Not so Merry Christmas looms for coronavirus-hit Europe

Not so Merry Christmas looms for coronavirus-hit Europe

Governments across Europe are trying to navigate between avoiding spreading the coronavirus over the Christmas holiday season and allowing people to celebrate with family and friends.

Here are some measures that will be adopted for year-end festivities by some European countries:


Health Minister Jens Spahn said on Dec. 8 that Germany might tighten its restrictions to curb the spread of the pandemic before Christmas. The federal government extended its lockdown measures until Jan. 10 in November, but eased rules over the Christmas holidays. Up to 10 people will be allowed to gather, not counting children.


Italians will not be able to attend a midnight mass on Christmas Eve and will be only allowed to move between regions in emergencies over the holiday period starting on Dec. 20.

The government also decided last month that ski resorts would be closed over the Christmas and New Year period.

Swiss-Italian train routes will be halted from Dec. 10, as the requirements for travel – including measuring passengers’ temperatures – exceed the capacity of train personnel, the Italian government and Swiss Federal Railways (SBB)said on Dec. 8.


Restaurants, courts and schools will be closed until Jan. 7, with a curfew in place from 9 pm to 5am and restrictions of movement between regions to stay in place also until next month, the government said on Dec. 7.


Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Dec.7 that there will be no New Year’s Eve celebrations and the country will maintain restrictions, including a 7 pm curfew, until at least Jan. 11.


There will be no limit on how many people will be able to gather per household for Christmas, the government said on Dec 5. The night-time curfew will be pushed back from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Dec. 24 and Dec. 25. For New Year’s Eve, street parties will be banned and outdoor gatherings will be limited to a maximum of six people.


Up to 10 people per household will be allowed to gather for Christmas and New Year, relaxing the current rule that permits gatherings of up to six people.

Curfews will be pushed back to 1:30 a.m. from 11 p.m. on Dec. 24 and Dec. 31. Movement between regions will be banned between Dec. 23 and Jan. 6, except for visits to family.


Norwegians will be able to invite up to 10 guests in their homes on two separate occasions between Christmas and New Year. Outside those days the current limit of up to five guests in one home remains.


Skiing will be allowed from Dec. 24, but there will be no Christmas markets this holiday season.


People will be allowed to travel from Dec. 15, including over the end-of-year holidays, if coronavirus cases drop to around 5,000 new cases per day.

France, which has decided to keep its ski slopes off limits until January, said it would make random border checks to stop people getting infected by crossing into countries where ski resorts remain open.


Belgian households will only be able to be in close contact with one extra person over Christmas. People living on their own will be able to meet two others. Fireworks will be banned on New Year’s Eve to limit gatherings and foreign travel is strongly discouraged.

IRELAND Three households will be allowed to meet between Dec. 18 and Jan. 6, and the countrywide travel ban will be lifted for that period.


Up to three households will be allowed to meet at home from Dec. 23 until Dec. 27. People will be able to meet in places of worship and in outdoor public places but not at indoor hospitality or entertainment venues. Shops will be allowed to stay open for longer over Christmas and in January.


No more than five people will be allowed to be invited to one household according to the new set of rules which are to last until Dec. 27.


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