Europe is reinstating a host of Covid-19 restrictions during the holidays. Here is an overview.

Travelers walk past a sign indicating unvaccinated passengers at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris on December 14. (Nathan Laine / Bloomberg via Getty Images)

As Covid-19 cases continue to rise across Europe, many countries have reinstated some restrictions during the holidays.

Here are the key things to know:


France has imposed restrictions on travelers entering the country from the UK, to slow the arrival of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus. Only essential travel from the UK to France is permitted, regardless of vaccination status. Travel restrictions were applied from December 18.

French Prime Minister Jean Castex announced on December 17 that large outdoor events and gatherings would be banned on New Year’s Eve. This includes the consumption of alcohol in public areas and the cancellation of fireworks and displays. concerts.

France reported 91,608 new Covid infections on Thursday, an all-time high since the start of the pandemic.


Spain has reinstated its national mandate of wearing masks outdoors – with the exception of sports and supermarkets – from Christmas Eve, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, at the regional level, some governments are tightening restrictions even further, with Murcia banning non-essential activities from Dec. 24 to Jan. 14, according to the regional government’s press release.

In Catalonia, leaders impose a curfew from 1 a.m. to 6 a.m., close places at night and limit social gatherings to 10 people, the statement said.

The measures will affect municipalities with more than 10,000 inhabitants with an incidence rate of 250 per 100,000 since December 17. They should last 15 days, starting on Christmas Eve.


Nightclubs will be closed and people will be banned from eating in public places from Dec.30 to Jan.31, according to a government press release. On Friday, the outdoor mask mandate returned and the use of the Covid pass will be extended from February 1.


Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has announced a strict lockdown from December 19. Indoor gatherings are limited to a maximum of two guests until January 14, except Christmas and New Years, when that limit is extended to four guests. All schools and extracurricular activities will also close until at least January 9.


Belgium will cancel indoor events and activities, including indoor Christmas markets and villages, cinema screenings and performances, from December 26, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said at a press conference . These measures extend to the interior spaces of amusement parks and zoos. However, certain activities such as weddings and funerals will still be permitted. Museums and gymnasiums will remain open.


Germany will impose strict contact restrictions to curb the spread of Covid-19 from December 28 and ban New Year’s gatherings. A maximum of 10 people will be allowed to meet in groups, whether vaccinated or cured . Private meetings for unvaccinated people are limited to two additional people per household for indoor and outdoor activities, the government said.

Unvaccinated people can only use public transport with a negative daily Covid-19 test.

Nightclubs in Germany will remain closed.

Football matches will again be played without spectators. Germany’s health minister has said he will not rule out a strict lockdown if the number of cases continues to rise.


Only people with a vaccination passport or proof of recovery are allowed inside restaurants and indoor event spaces from December 20, and masks must be worn at all times, unless consuming food or drink.

Private gatherings are limited to 10 people if they include anyone aged 16 and over who has not been vaccinated or has not recovered from Covid-19. In settings where it is not possible to wear a mask or apply a seating requirement, admission will be limited to those vaccinated or cured, who will also need to show a negative test result. This rule applies to bars and clubs, but also to amateur sports and cultural activities. Only people who have been fully vaccinated, boosted, or recovered from Covid-19 in the past four months not having to take another test.


The closing time of 10 p.m. will be imposed on the hospitality sector from December 27 and will remain in place on New Year’s Eve. Admission to the Christmas markets will be reserved for people who have been vaccinated and / or cured.

FFP2 masks (filtering facepiece) are mandatory in many areas. Proof of vaccination or recovery is required to enter hotels, restaurants, recreation centers, gymnasiums, cultural institutions, Christmas markets, ski lifts / cable cars, and bodywork related services, such as salons.

Restaurants, cafes and bars have a curfew at 11 p.m., with the exception of New Year’s Eve. Bars and clubs remain closed for the moment. Après-ski is not possible.


Denmark has announced the closure of cinemas, theaters and museums, while also banning the sale of alcohol after 10 p.m. and asking venues to close earlier. These restrictions are now in effect.


Schools, bars and clubs will all close in Portugal from December 26 to January 10, Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa announced on Tuesday. People have also been asked to work from home and negative tests will be required for ceremonies such as weddings as well as all cultural and sporting events.

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