How Countries are Lifting the Lockdown
Last updated on June 29th, 2020
Even if you are not following the news 24/7, you might have noticed some changes in local policies, recently announced across various countries. Starting from mid-April, some countries, urged to reboot the economy, are taking their first cautious steps to relax the restrictions imposed by coronavirus. It’s a gradual process, with policies being tailored individually in each country, and they should be revised once the country authorities see if the number of infected people increases again. In this case, all exemptions will be cancelled, and harsh measures will be returned.
Although it’s too early to talk about a return to normal life, it’s a small ray of light in this intimidating battle.
What are the exemptions introduced in some countries?
Austria was one of the first countries in Europe to ease its lockdown. Since the middle of April, the restrictions were lifted for the citizens but they have to follow social distancing measures and keep 1 meter from others in public. Masks are required only in closed spaces and gatherings up to 10 people are allowed starting in May. Restaurants and cafes will open on May 15, but with new precautions.
Hotels and tourism places have been open since May 29. Facility staff must wear masks. Such measures will be valid until the end of June. Borders are open since June 4 only for travelers who’ve stayed in Germany, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Slovakia, Slovenia, the Czech Republic and Hungary for two weeks before departing from those countries. This list has been expanded from 16 June to cover 31 countries (except Portugal, Sweden, Spain or the U.K.).From that date, travelers from Portugal, Sweden, Spain and the U.K. still have to quarantine for two weeks or present a negative COVID-19 test.
First of the Caribbean islands have decided to open their borders to travelers.
From 4 June, St Lucia and Antigua began easing the restrictions by welcoming flights only from the US. Phase Two has began in early June and some countries from Europe have been included as well
New procedures will surround your trip to the Caribbean. Visitors are required to provide a negative Covid-19 test up to 48 hours after boarding their flight. The use of face masks and social distancing are expected by everyone. Travelers could be subjected to screenings and temperature checks, and health and safety protocols will be reinforced.
For a further peace of mind, hotels will also have a Covid-19 certificate if they meet specific criteria for sanitation, social distancing and other protocols.
Wuhan emerged from a complete blockage on April 8: they removed the barrage cordons installed in January at all exits; planes were allowed to make domestic flights, and cars were allowed to return to the motorways connecting Wuhan to other cities. In other cities in China, restrictive measures are gradually being lifted. In Beijing, on April 30, the highest level of emergency response was reduced from “I” to “II”.
Domestic travel restrictions are being eased within different areas of the country in an effort to boost consumption and get the economy active again. But local quarantine policies and controls still exist and vary making it difficult to get a final common result. Shanghai has already reopened some night entertainment venues such as nightclubs. Shanghai Disneyland park was reopened on May 11, though to a reduced number of visitors who are required to wear masks and pass through body temperature checks showing on their smartphones that their health status is positive. Some Chinese airlines have been providing international flights from May, one weekly service per country in the beginning.
As of April 27, EU citizens arriving for business purposes and university students from EU countries may now come to the Czech Republic. Also, Czech citizens were allowed to gather in groups of up to 10 people. EU+ citizens and citizens of other countries may enter the Czech Republic without the necessity of having a negative PCR test or proving the purpose of travel in case they travel from the country with low risk. All persons from high-risk countries (including Czech nationals) must undergo a mandatory quarantine upon arrival. The official travel ban is announced to end on July 1.
Universities, stores up to 2500 square meters, fitness centers and libraries have been open since April 27. Starting from May 11, cross-border public transportation is allowed again with the exception of air traffic, which still remains limited. They are obliged to submit a PCR testing result certificate during the border control. Shopping centers and hairdressing salons started operating from May 11, restaurants and hotels from May 25.
France has begun easing the restrictions from May 11. Shops, schools and some markets are going to open slowly with face masks being required on public transportation. From June 2, citizens are now allowed to go to a restaurant, bar and cafe with a 1 metre distance between tables to keep to social distancing rules.
Due to Paris being heavily impacted by the virus, restaurants are only allowed to be open for outdoor sitting in the city. Citizens can also travel more than 100 kilometres from their residences. More rules were relaxed by French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe.
From June 15 travellers from most EU countries will be free to travel to France without having to quarantine or needing to show certificates proving they are COVID-free. For passengers coming from Spain, they need to wait until June 21, the date Spanish authorities have said they will retract their own restrictions. For those coming from the U.K. will they will have to submit to a 14-day quarantine, in response to the U.K.'s quarantine mandate. The interior ministry said it would begin relaxing restrictions on travel from countries outside the EU on July 1.
Germany due to positive results from their lockdown has partially lifted their lockdown regulations, since April 20, the country allowed restaurants, hotels and shops to reopen as well as students returning to school. With social distancing measures still in place throughout the country. Face masks are mandatory on all public transports as well as during shopping. Large events, such as festivals, concerts and sport games, may return after August.
From 15 June, all nine of the country’s borders were opened again for neighbouring countries that have similar infection rates, however Germany decided to extend its warnings on travelling outside the EU until August 31. Germany’s different federal states have the final say on lockdown measures and have at times implemented different policies.
From May 25, Bars, cafes and restaurants are open too, joining most shops and shopping malls that were already opening since May 18, as part of its easing of COVID-19 measures. Over the weekend, Greece opened 500 beaches but with several restrictions, testing its plans for the summer period.
It’s mandatory to wear facemasks on public transport, taxis, in all medical facilities and in lifts.
Island-hopping has been allowed with the reintroduction of regular ferry services, with rules on social distancing and passenger limits, since May 25 with the possibility of having a summer vacation in Greece getting higher by the day. The Prime Minister shared in an interview that he expects the tourism industry to be up and running by July 1.
From 15 June the country resumed flights to/from most european airports, except those listed as having a high risk of transmission by EASA. International flights will arrive in Athens and Thessaloniki, while direct flights to regional airports resume July 1.
Tourists from the EU are currently allowed to enter Greece without the need to quarantine with tourism from outside the EU expected to be allowed from June 30. Visitors from the UK are currently subjected to COVID-19 tests but this subject to change.
In the case of Iceland, the country has been easing its lockdown restrictions since the start of May, now allowing public gatherings of up to 200 people and night clubs and gyms can reopen. Restaurants, bars and cafes have been asked to rearrange their tables so there is a two meter gap between seats. Face masks are not required; the usual social distancing and personal hygiene rules apply.
Icelandic government have now open borders to overseas arrivals on June 15. In order to enter the country, visitors will have to install Iceland’s official tracing and tracking app and self-isolate for 14 days after arrival unless opt in to be tested for the virus (tests will come at a fee of £167) or can prove they are free from infection. Some professionals, including scientists, filmmakers and athletes, were allowed to enter the country from May 15.
From the beginning of May, Italy has removed some of the restrictions on the movement of citizens. Members of the same family are able to meet if they live in the same region though wearing masks is mandatory. Moving from one region to another is possible but only for business reasons, for trips to medical facilities or for returning home.
From May 18, museums and other cultural sites, additional shops and libraries will be reopened. Further openings have occurred from June 1 for hairdressers, beauty salons, bars, and restaurants with eat-in service, if infection rates continue to slow.
Alitalia Airline operates only regional routes until at least June.
Italy opened its borders to foreign travel on June 3 to travellers from Europe and the Schengen area. People can also start moving freely across the country's regions on the same day. Tourists will not be expected to go into a 14 day quarantine, if they’re not showing symptoms. Tourists coming from the above will indeed need to quarantine if they were in another country in the 14 days prior to entering Italy.
On March 24 the country went into a nationwide lockdown for 21 days with a stay at home order enforced. This lockdown was extended multiple times with each extension slowly walking back the previous restrictions. International flights into India are currently banned except those of a humanitarian or essential travel nature. Domestic flights are slowly resuming with light at the end of the tunnel. Day Curfew has be changed to allow movement of individuals between 05:00 and 21:00.
The government will allow hospitality and retail sectors and places of worship to open on June 8 and expect authorities to ensure social distancing rules. Due to the nature of the country there are different rules for different cities currently in place which can see rules vary significantly. As well as certain so-called containment zones which will still have completed lockdown measures.
On April 3, Indonesia went into a partial lockdown, the lockdown required offices, schools, places of worship and public spaces to close. Jakarta was the first region to enact a partial lockdown in the country. The social distancing measures included a ban on gatherings of more than five people, limited public transport services and mandatory work-from-home. Lockdown rules vary per region.
All foreign tourism is currently banned from Indonesia, and anyone entering the island must undergo a swab test and provide a letter stating they are free of Covid-19. If the measures enacted by the government prove to be successful the tourism ministry is considering reopening the borders to international travellers in October with a focus on Bali opening up first due to its low infection rates and tourism economy.
Israel is slowly returning to action; people are allowed to leave home to see their loved ones, work out and take advantage of spring weather. Israelis are asked to wear masks in public spaces, maintain a two-meter distance from one another and wash their hands regularly.
Israel’s Ministry of Tourism is beginning to reopen its domestic tourism. From May 3, hotels and other accommodation establishments with ground-floor rooms were permitted to operate as the first step in the tourism industry’s return to operation.
Since May 7, many establishments have reopened - namely, malls, gyms, open-air markets, day-care. Museums opened again from May 17, and gatherings up to 100 people were possible from May 31. Foreign passengers who are not citizens or residents of Israel are currently not able to visit Israel, in exceptional cases, one can apply for a special approval form from the Foreign Ministry if they can prove they can self-isolate adequately in the country for 14 days.
There was a partial lockdown implemented on March 18 which allowed many businesses to reopen in parts of Malaysia to kickstart the economy after almost two months of inactivity. These measures are expected to run until 9 June, which include schools and Malaysia’s borders closures. From 10 June, citizens can travel for domestic holidays, get haircuts and shop at certain markets
Foreigns or people coming from outside the country are not allowed with the exception of those with diplomatic passports, permanent residents, or travelling in an essential service. Those entering will be subject to COVID-19 testing including a 14 days quarantine at a designated government facility, costing a minimum of RM150 (27 Pounds) per day to cover the cost of the quarantine. These measures will run until the 9th of June. These measures will run until the 9 June. Tourists are currently banned until 31 August.
Borders are open for tourists from the Schengen area and essential travel. Tourists from a number of countries can holiday in the Netherlands from 15 June onwards. Others will be able to travel to the Netherlands from sometime between June 15 and July 5. Airlines are requiring travellers to present a health declaration that includes a COVID-19 test. While some shops and hotels remain open, social distancing is mandatory everywhere in public.
From June 1, outdoor restaurants, bars theatres, music venues, museums and cinemas are due to open and this date marks the start of the new normality. Events, concerts and festivals with more than 100 people are expected to be allowed after 1 September. Face masks are mandatory on all public transports from June 1.
Poland has been one of the first countries in the world to start lifting lockdown measurements as of 4 May to the point where travelling between cities, parks and beaches among others are now permitted. Flights between international countries started operating on 23 May, Borders opened to international tourists from 13 June.
Strict social distancing measures will be adhered to. Hotels, outdoor sports venues, and shopping were allowed to reopen from 4 May excluding some high risk common areas. Since 18 May museums, libraries, art galleries and remaining shops are open.Some public transport is operating too, making face masks a mandatory matter in public.
As of 6 June, movies, theaters, opera houses, fitness clubs, swimming pools, tanning salons, massage parlors, event halls will be allowed to open. Gatherings of up to 150 persons are permitted without face masks.
From 4 May, Portugal had started easing its lockdown in stages, each one lasting two weeks. Public services were open only with an appointment and face masks are mandatory in all enclosed public spaces, such as shops, schools, public transport, beauty salons, etc. Bars, cafes and restaurants opened their doors on 18 May, but are limited to using only 50% of their capacity. Museums and galleries opened on May 18th, while cinemas, theaters and auditoriums were opened on 1 June.
Hotels welcomed visitors from 1 June. A state-run tourism agency Turismo de Portugal has introduced a hygiene label to be awarded to operators who are meeting government-controlled standards.The Algarve in Portugal will be one of the first to receive tourists this summer once travel restrictions are lifted, announced the President of Algarve Tourism, João Fernandes.
Portugal’s beaches reopened on 6 June with new restrictions: Any sporting activities involving more than one person (including pedalo boats and slides) are banned, while sun loungers or parasols must be kept three metres apart from each other with a maximum of five people to each one.
International travel resumed on the 15th of June with international flights allowed from countries from the EU Union and portuguese speaking countries with the exception of Spain who will open borders with Portugal on the 1 July.
Slovenia declared an end to Covid-19 and started opening up the country as of May 15. Shops and most services will resume their work on May 18 with certain restrictions in place. Gatherings of more than five people are still not allowed and a 14-day quarantine for some foreigners is still in place but the government is hoping to allow gatherings of up to 50 people soon.
Slovenia has also opened its borders to European Union citizens and has removed the required seen-day quarantine for arrivals. The reopening of all accommodation capacities with up to 30 rooms, campsites and camper stops has also started from May 18. Non European Union citizens are subject to a 14 day quarantine period after arrival in the country.
Spain has entered its four week plan on easing restrictions. From May 11, small businesses and hotels opened their doors but social distancing is in place. Cafes, bars and restaurants are also now operating with 30% capacity. Theaters and cinemas are expected to welcome visitors from late-May onward. Beaches are expected to be operational in late June.
As for travel, several airports are now functioning for international flights. The initial openings were El Prat in Barcelona, Gran Canaria in the Canaries, Barajas in Madrid, Málaga-Costa del Sol and Palma de Mallorca. As of May 18, Tenerife, Alicante, Seville, Menorca and Ibiza have been added to the list. The airports have been chosen because of their capacity to deal with safety regulations.
Travel restrictions were lifted on June 21 for all people from the EU’s Schengen area, the UK and Portugal with travel allowed from countries that do not belong to that area on July 1.
Thailand had closed their borders in late March, a state of emergency and curfews were imposed and this was recently extended to until the end of June. Large gatherings are banned. Essential businesses are open but there is a ban on entertainment areas and similar businesses.
All commercial flights coming into Thailand are currently banned to curb the spread of coronavirus until at least 30 June. Social distancing measures are still in place. Bangkok Airways has resumed some domestic flights with more domestic routes to be added in June.
Shopping malls, barbershops and hair salons have been allowed to reopen across Turkey from the beginning of May, with enhanced safety and hygiene measures in place. Turkey's senior citizens and youth who were confined to their homes are allowed for short spells for the first time in weeks.
From May 23, intercity and international communications were resumed, domestic tourism will be restored, hotels that have a "health certificate" and are located far from the city center will be opened.
Turkish Airlines plans to gradually resume flights from June and this will take four months to return to near full operation. International flights are restricted, domestic flights are still suspended and inter-city travel is allowed under restrictions. From 27 May hotels and restaurants were permitted to open. All passengers who meet Turkish immigration rules are permitted entry to Turkey from 12 June.
Disclaimer: changes in local policies are continuously developing, and we will keep updating the list with more destinations and details. In the meantime, we recommend checking out the official websites of the local authorities for the most up-to-date travel information. As much as we would love to encourage you to plan your upcoming trips, in the current situation, we urge you to be more conscious about the consequences and consider the risks involved.