(Reuters) – As the COVID-19 vaccine rollout gains momentum, many countries are planning a gradual return to normal, opening borders and letting people back into restaurants, shops and sports venues after more than a year of on-off lockdowns.
Here are some of their plans, in alphabetical order:
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on May 7 Australia would lift a ban on its citizens returning from COVID-ravaged India in the coming days, as state officials said an outbreak in Sydney appeared to be contained.
Non-essential retailers in England reopened on April 12 along with pubs and restaurants operating outdoors. Restrictions are expected to be eased further on May 17, with the reopening of indoor hospitality, cinemas and sports halls. Britain will also allow international travel to resume, but people arriving from most major destinations will still be subject to mandatory quarantine.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson hopes to lift restrictions entirely in June.
France will start relaxing a nightly curfew and allow cafes, bars and restaurants to offer outside service from May 19. The plan is first to push back the curfew to 9 p.m. (1900 GMT) from 7 p.m, and then to 11 p.m. from June 9, before scrapping it completely on June 30.
Indoor dining will be allowed from June 30.
All shops, museums, cinemas and theatres, will be allowed to reopen on May 19. Foreign tourists with a “health pass” will be able to visit France again from June 9.
Germany eased restrictions on people who are fully vaccinated or have recovered from the virus from May 9, lifting curfews and quarantine rules as well as the obligation to provide a negative test result to visit a hairdresser, zoo or to go shopping. (https://bit.ly/3fb4pgl)
Several German states, including the capital city Berlin, are loosening coronavirus restrictions.
The Berlin state government agreed to lift a night-time curfew and ease restrictions on shopping from May 19 and to allow outdoor dining from May 21, if the seven-day incidence remained below 100 for three consecutive days.
Other regions, such as the western state of Rhineland-Palatinate, are planning a three-stage opening scheme starting from May 12, with indoor restaurants opening on June 2 in areas of incidence below 50.
The state of Bavaria allowed outdoor dining and the opening of concert halls, opera houses, theatres and cinemas from May 10 in areas where the seven-day COVID-19 incidence per 100,000 residents is under 100. Hotels, holiday homes and campsites will reopen from May 21. (https://bit.ly/2Ru1tDc)
From May 12, Bavaria will also allow travel to Austria.
The state of Lower Saxony eased restrictions from May 10 in areas with low incidence rates for those vaccinated, with a negative test result or proof of recovery. This included the reopening of outdoor dining, accommodation for local travellers, and all retail stores. (https://bit.ly/3f3SjoT)
Italian coffee bars, restaurants, cinemas and theatres partially reopened in most regions on April 26, and indoor dining will be allowed from June 1.
A phased reopening of pools and gyms is planned from mid-May, with strict social distancing rules in force. Open-air swimming pools are scheduled to be opened from May 15 and some gym activities will restart on June 1.
Italy also plans to lift quarantine restrictions for travellers arriving from European countries, Britain and Israel as early as mid-May, and scrape quarantine requirement for those arriving from the United States from June.
Poland reopened shopping centres on May 4, hotels from May 8 and restaurants will be able to serve food outdoors from May 15. By the end of May, all children should be able to return to school and events such as weddings with up to 50 people will be allowed.
From May 29, indoor dining, cinemas and theatres, indoor sports facilities and swimming pools will be allowed to open with capacity restrictions. (https://bit.ly/3o0gmtc)
Qatar on May 9 decided to gradually lift coronavirus-related measures in four phases, starting on May 28 and ending on July 30, the state news agency said, citing a health ministry statement.
Saudi Arabia will on May 17 open land, sea and air borders, and lift the suspension on its citizens travelling abroad.
Curfews were lifted across most of Spain on May 9, sending crowds of maskless youths partying in the street, much to the worry of medics. From now on, responsibility for anti-COVID emergency measures lies with individual regions, and some are already seeking the backing of courts to extend or bring back restrictions.
On May 3, New York City dwellers were allowed to have a drink at an indoor bar for the first time in months, days after Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city should reopen in full on July 1.
Florida governor Ron DeSantis on May 3 signed an executive order to end all local emergency orders relating to the virus.
The states of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut will lift most capacity restrictions on businesses, including retail stores, food services and gyms, beginning on May 19.
New York governor Andrew Cuomo also said the New York City subway system, which has been closing from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. for disinfecting stations and cars, would resume its 24-hour service on May 17.
(Compiled by Vladimir Sadykov, Dagmarah Mackos and Federica Urso. Editing by Milla Nissi and Mark Potter)