For months, coronavirus restrictions have dictated where millions of Europeans can travel and who they can see when they get there.
So as Christmas approaches, governments must make tough decisions about whether to ease restrictions in time for the holiday season.
Here is a breakdown of what has been announced so far.
Italy: Holiday warnings
Many Italians head to the ski slopes at Christmas and New Year, but Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has warned against these traditional holidays. “We can’t afford it,” he said.
This means that popular ski resorts in the Alps and Dolomites are likely to lose billions of euros in holiday revenue.
Mr Conte is seeking a European consensus on the retention of ski resorts and other measures.
“I think this is a European problem,” Mr Conte told La7 TV. “If Italy decides to close all its ski lifts without any support from France, Austria and other countries, then Italian tourists would risk going abroad and bringing [virus] back home.” France ski resorts will also remain closed and a leader in German state of Bavaria supports temporary closure, but Austrian tourism authorities believe they can offer safe holidays once the restrictions are eased on December 7th, and do not approve of the Italian plan. Swiss the resorts are already open.
Italy is currently seeing the most deaths since late March, and the prime minister told Italians to expect “a more sober Christmas, without Christmas Eve, hugs and kisses.”
Many Italian regions are partially blocked and travel between them is limited. These measures will remain in force until December 3, but the emergency decree reportedly could lead to easing of the rules after that date.
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The exact details of the decree are still being discussed by ministers. However, the favorite Italian Christmas market is already banned.
But not everything is bad news: Mr Conte assured the children
Santa Claus (Santa Claus) will definitely be a guest as he is exempt from global travel restrictions. Fu.
France: Travel restrictions were lifted over Christmas
After weeks of national imprisonment, President Emmanuel Macron has restrictions that will begin to ease on November 28. But most of the blocking measures will remain in effect until just before the December 15 holiday.
Shops, theaters and cinemas will reopen in time for Christmas and people will be able to visit their families during the holiday season. “We will be able to travel without permission, including between regions,” Mr Macron said in a televised address.
It is worth noting that France is under a second national blockade since the end of October. But on December 15, this will be replaced by a national curfew from 21:00 to 07:00. However, curfew will not apply on Christmas and New Year’s Eve.
Restaurants and schools will not reopen on at least January 20, depending on daily incidents that drop below 5,000. Bars, cafes and nightclubs are closed indefinitely.
Religious services will be free from November 28 with a limit of 30 people.
The decision to keep the hugely popular French ski resorts is a huge disappointment, as local mayors complain about months of work. Mr Macron said they could reopen in January “on favorable terms”, but reiterated the Italian prime minister’s insistence on a European agreement.
Germany: Restriction on social gatherings
The draft guideline, agreed by the leaders of 16 countries in Germany, aims to limit social gatherings at Christmas and is due to be formalized following a video conference with Angela Merkel later Wednesday.
From December 1, two households and a maximum of five people will be able to meet. Children under the age of 14 are not included in this limit.
But there may be a temporary easing of the rule with up to 10 people, who can meet between December 23 and January 1. The limit for two households can also be increased.
The plan calls for discussions “with religious communities on measures to reduce contacts in religious services”.
The German “lock lamp” will last until December 20. Bars, restaurants and entertainment venues are closed, but schools and shops are open. This is expected to be extended during the holiday period.
Most major Christmas markets have already been canceled, but some locals are outlining plans to continue on a smaller scale.
As for the New Year, the fireworks have been canceled, while putting them on the street will probably be discouraged.
Spain: Terraces and limited gatherings
The Spanish government is planning a “different” holiday period with a limit of six people allowed to party, reports said.
It is recommended that social gatherings on Christmas Eve be held on the terraces of restaurants or other outdoor areas.
Spanish families also traditionally celebrate the Feast of the Three Kings with a parade on the evening of January 5, and the government will recommend that the celebrations not take place.
The plan also recommends ventilating the interior and maintaining social distance when needed. But more generally, Health Minister Salvador Ila said “nothing is in stone”.
“We need to find a consensus on that [Christmas restrictions]. When it is decided, we will announce the measures, “he said.
The Catalan government hopes to allow a gathering of up to 10 people for Christmas. “We will make our own decisions,” a regional spokesman said.
While in Madrid, officials are asking the government to approve a mass testing program in pharmacies on Christmas Eve to allow people to meet safely during the holiday season.