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Factbox-Back to pubs, gyms and movies: plotting the road back to normal

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By Reuters
Factbox-Back to pubs, gyms and movies: plotting the road back to normal
Factbox-Back to pubs, gyms and movies: plotting the road back to normal   -   Copyright  Thomson Reuters 2021

– 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:


Australia, which plans to allow international travel from mid-2022, lifted a ban on its citizens returning from India on May 14.


Non-essential retailers in England reopened on April 12 along with pubs and restaurants operating outdoors. Indoor hospitality, cinemas, theatres, and sports halls reopened on May 17. Britain also allowed international travel to resume, but people arriving from most destinations are still subject to quarantine.

Government currently aims to lift most remaining restrictions in England on June 21.


Chileans fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can move more freely within the country from May 26 although borders will remain closed through mid-June.


France allowed cafes, bars and restaurants to offer outside service from May 19. Indoor dining will be allowed from June 30.

It also pushed back a nightly curfew to 9 p.m. (1900 GMT) from 7 p.m. That will be moved to 11 p.m. from June 9 and scrapped completely on June 30.

Shops, museums, cinemas and theatres reopened on May 19. Foreign tourists with a “health pass” will be able to visit France from June 9.

Gradual relaxation of remote work rules is planned from June 9.


Germany eased restrictions on those fully vaccinated or 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.

From May 12, travellers can enter the country without the need to quarantine, except those arriving from countries designated as risk areas.

On May 23, Germany opened its border with France to those who are vaccinated, recovered or can present a negative COVID-19 test.

Berlin lifted a nightly curfew and eased restrictions on shopping from May 19 and allowed outdoor dining from May 21.

Other regions, such as the western state of Rhineland-Palatinate, are planning a three-stage opening scheme that started from May 12, with indoor restaurants opening on June 2 in areas of COVID-19 incidence below 50 per 100,000 people.

The state of Bavaria allowed outdoor dining and the opening of concert halls, opera houses, theatres and cinemas from May 10 in areas with low incidence rates. Hotels, holiday homes and campsites started reopening from May 21. It also permitted travel to neighbouring Austria.

Lower Saxony eased restrictions from May 10 in low incidence areas 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.

Hamburg allowed outdoor dining venues and retail stores to reopen from May 22, and theatres and concert halls from May 28.

Germany is on target for outdoor concerts this summer, with social distancing and COVID-19 testing for attendees, and if cases fall further fans should be back at soccer matches in August.


Greece reopened restaurants and bars from May 3, organised beaches on May 8, and the tourism industry on May 15. Tourists from the rest of the EU as well as Britain, the United States and Israel can visit if they have been vaccinated, can show negative test result, or have recovered from the virus.


India’s capital New Delhi plans to start relaxing its lockdown from May 31 if new cases continue to drop.


Israel reopened its borders to foreign tourists on May 23. Under a pilot programme due to continue until June 15, it gave the green light to visits by 20 groups of between five and 30 tourists from countries including the United States, Britain and Germany. It hopes to let individual tourists in from July.


Italian coffee bars, restaurants, cinemas and theatres partially reopened in most regions on April 26, and restaurants will be allowed to serve customers at indoor tables from June 1.

Open-air swimming pools opened from May 15 and some gym activities will restart on June 1.

Italy lifted quarantine restrictions for travellers arriving from European and Schengen zone countries, as well as Britain and Israel, from May 15.

On May 18, it pushed back a nightly curfew to 11 p.m. from 10 p.m. and eased other curbs in low-risk regions. The curfew will begin at midnight from June 7 and be abolished from June 21. Gyms reopened on May 24.


The Netherlands lifted a nationwide curfew on April 28.

Parks, zoos, gyms and outdoor swimming pools reopened on May 19, while outdoor service at bars and restaurants was extended by two hours until 8 p.m. Public libraries opened on May 20, with museums and indoor service at restaurants expected to follow in next three weeks.


Poland reopened shopping centres on May 4, hotels from May 8, and restaurants were allowed 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.

It also brought forward the reopening of cinemas, theatres, concert halls and cultural institutions by one week, to May 21.

Indoor dining, indoor sports facilities and swimming pools reopened with capacity restrictions on May 28.


Qatar will gradually lift restrictions through July 30.

From May 28, leisure, education centres, restaurants, gyms, pools, and salons can operate at limited capacity, while bans on weddings, conferences and exhibitions remain in place.

Local and international sporting events can take place with fully vaccinated fans in open-space venues at 30% capacity.


On May 17, Saudi Arabia opened land, sea and air borders. From May 20, foreign visitors arriving by air from most countries no longer need to quarantine if they have been vaccinated.

Entertainment venues will be allowed to open at 40% capacity for those vaccinated, state TV reported on May 27.


In South Korea, masks will no longer be required outdoors from July for those vaccinated with at least one COVID-19 shot. People given at least one dose also will be allowed to gather in larger numbers starting June.


Curfews were lifted across most of Spain on May 9.

From May 24, it has allowed people from low-risk non-EU countries to enter without a negative PCR test. From June 7, it will let in vaccinated people from anywhere in the world.


Turkey started easing its lockdown on May 17 by allowing movement during the day while keeping overnight and weekend curfews in place until June 1.


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 measures.

The states of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut lifted most capacity restrictions on businesses, including retail stores, food services and gyms, on May 19.

New York City and Los Angeles announced plans to fully reopen schools from September.

California will lift most remaining crowd-capacity limits and physical distancing requirements on June 15.

Virginia plans to lift all restrictions on June 15, except for a mask mandate, while Minnesota plans to remove all limits by July 1, or sooner if 70% of the state’s residents over 16 get vaccinated.