Factbox-Not so Merry Christmas looms for coronavirus-hit Europe – Metro US

Factbox-Not so Merry Christmas looms for coronavirus-hit Europe

The outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Rome
The outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Rome

(Reuters) – 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:


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.


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.

The region of Bavaria said on Dec. 6 that it would impose a tougher lockdown from Dec. 9 until Jan. 5, with some relaxation for Christmas but not for New Year.


The Czech government allowed shops and restaurants shut since October to reopen on Dec. 3 ahead of the holiday season.


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.

The government of Catalonia said it would not relax its restrictions on Dec. 7 as planned but would allow free movement during the Christmas celebrations.


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.


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.


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.

(Compiled by Elizaveta Gladun, Aida Pelaez-Fernandez and Veronica Snoj in Gdansk, Editing by Mark Potter, Tomasz Janowski and Toby Chopra)