Despite the rollout of multiple vaccines, European nations are about to endure another holiday weekend full of restrictions to combat the spreading of Covid-19 and its variants.
According to authorities in France, the nation will have a slew of new restrictions enforced for this weekend specifically; the biggest tells citizens they aren’t allowed to travel more than 6 miles from their home unless they have an emergency. If someone does have an emergency they’ll need a sworn declaration known as an “attestation” to travel.
A 7pm to 6am curfew has also been enforced for the country, and residents are encouraged not to celebrate with their families this year. Belgium has been one of the most impacted nation’s when it comes to Covid-19 infections, and their recent rise in cases is leading to a multitude of new restrictions as well. Government officials are banning non-essential travel in and out of the country and the ban will stay in place until the end of the holiday period; for Belgium Easter celebrations are expected to go from this Saturday to April 18th.
Spain also remains under a national state of emergency and has multiple overnight curfews being enforced throughout each region. Spain is currently enduring a major fourth wave of the virus which led to an immediate lockdown to try to contain the spread. Travel between regions is barred unless there’s an emergency.
“Europe may not be subject to the drastic lockdown measures introduced to combat the first wave of coronavirus a year ago, but many countries still face another Easter of greatly reduced meeting and movement.”
According to reports from the Guardian, “a recent influx of French tourists who had traveled to Madrid to escape lockdown restrictions at home has raised eyebrows in Spain, but their presence has been welcomed by the hospitality industry. Spaniards are also allowed to travel abroad, subject to the rules governing visits to other countries.”
Portugal is requiring a two week quarantine period for any travelers entering from outside the country, and the nation as a whole has been placed under its second official lockdown back in January. Cases have been dropping, which allowed the government to ease up on some restrictions, but they’re not out of the woods yet.
In Greece some small retail shops will be open for the weekend but by appointment only to reduce foot traffic. Bars and restaurants in the country remain closed, and the government is continuing to threaten penalties for any business owners who allow customers to gather. Greece has been adamant about reopening their tourist attractions for European patrons as a means of rebuilding their economy. “The first trickle of tourists have begun flying into the country, but with hotels closed, most are staying in pensions and rented accommodation. New arrivals are required to self-isolate for a week and will have to adhere to strict lockdown measures, including notifying authorities by text message of their movements once quarantine periods end,” according to reports.
“As part of its response to a rise in cases, many governments maintained a ban on non-essential travel. Most tourism bans will be in place until the end of the holiday period.”
Italy as a whole is currently placed in a “red zone” lockdown for the holiday weekend, meaning all travel is banned outside of your given region. Ironically, people are still allowed to travel abroad if needed, the government just requires that anyone arriving in Italy from another EU nation must quarantine for five days and take a Covid-19 test at the end of that period.
The red zone measures aren’t nearly as strict as they were last summer when Italy was one of the world’s biggest hotspots for the coronavirus, however, the policies are still strict to prevent spreading. A maximum of two people are able to visit another household within their town no more than once a day while families can travel to second homes if they own them.
Ireland currently remains under maximum-level pandemic restrictions with a mandatory 12-day hotel quarantine period for travelers from 32 listed countries that have been deemed high risk. Starting this weekend an additional 26 countries will be added to that list; none of which are a part of the European Union.
Health officials in Europe think that more countries should be included in these mandatory quarantine periods, as well as bans. The attorney general and foreign ministries, however, are mainly focusing on the issues within their own nations.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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