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Lockdown restrictions loosened in several European countries

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Lockdown restrictions loosened in several European countries
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The final phase of the process of easing lockdown in Portugal came into force on Saturday.

Restaurants and cafes can stay open until 10.30 pm in the evening with a limitation of six people per table inside and 10 people on the terraces.

Most businesses can be open until 9 pm on weekdays and until 7 pm on weekends or holidays

Local resident Ana Eliseu took advantage of the new rules. “Since December I have not enjoyed the Lisbon sun and today I decided to go back to a terrace,” she said.

Meanwhile, the land border between Portugal and Spain reopened after more than three months of restrictions.

The borders have been closed since January, with only 18 authorised crossing points for the transport of goods, cross-border workers and emergency services.

Despite the opening, the government announced that there will be mobile controls to alert citizens arriving from countries at risk of mandatory quarantine. This is the case for citizens coming from France, the Netherlands or the United Kingdom.

Hungary eases restrictions

COVID-19 restrictions were also loosened in Hungary for people with government-issued immunity cards, the latest in a series of reopening measures that have followed an ambitious vaccination campaign.

As of Saturday, individuals with the plastic cards were allowed to enter indoor dining rooms, hotels, theatres, cinemas, spas, gyms, libraries, museums and other recreational venues.

Ildiko Szucs, CEO of Budapest Spas Ltd, believes it is a cautious approach.

"Today, not everyone who wants to come in can come in,” she said. “Only immunity card holders.

“All immunity cards are checked by the staff. It is a very strict rule, but obviously we must comply with the government regulations. But we also believe that it is important for the safe use of the spa."

In Italy many beach establishments were given the green light to open on Saturday as part of a gradual reopening of the country.

May 1 is a popular day for Italians to go out and have a picnic outdoors.

In Santa Severa, about an hour from Rome, people braved the wind and rain to try and picnic by the sea.

Italy has begun gradually reopening over the past week with students returning to schools, museums and cinemas opening their doors.

To date over 120,000 people in Italy have died from COVID-19, the second-highest death rate in Europe after the United Kingdom.