Restaurant terraces reopened in Spain (here in Guadalajara) on February 12, 2021 -


  • After a tolerance for the Easter weekend, the new restrictive measures, extended to the whole territory, began this Tuesday in France, for four weeks.

  • But for some of our neighbors, who confined earlier, the time has come for deconfinement.

  • Germany, Greece, Portugal, United Kingdom… Some European countries have decided to gradually ease their restrictive measures this week.

As France begins four weeks of confinement (lightened) to face the third wave of the coronavirus epidemic, some European countries, whose health situation is improving, are starting to ease their restrictive measures .

Portugal, Greece, United Kingdom… For the countries which confined earlier, it is almost time to return to normal life.

20 Minutes

takes stock of these European neighbors who are starting a process of deconfinement.

  • Portugal

After the return of students to primary school on March 15, Portugal is starting the second stage of a gradual deconfinement plan to avoid a resumption of the Covid-19 epidemic.

The country has reopened

museums, colleges and café terraces, this Monday, more than two months after their closure.

Group lessons remain prohibited in sports halls and gatherings are however still limited to four people per table on the café terraces.

Faced with an explosion in Covid-19 cases after the end of the year holidays, which caused a saturation of hospitals, the government had imposed a second general confinement in mid-January, followed a week later by the closure of schools.

To promote this safe return to schools, Portugal is relying on mass screening and a vaccination plan for teaching staff.

According to the second phase of the government's deconfinement plan, high schools, universities and theaters will have to wait until April 19 to reopen and restaurants will have to wait until early May.

The authorities have decided to maintain the travel restrictions.

Flights to and from Brazil and the United Kingdom remain suspended to limit the spread of the new variants, while controls at the land borders between Portugal and Spain, whose passage is limited to a few exceptions, have been extended until mid-April.

  • Greece

Despite a still high number of infections and deaths linked to Covid-19, Greece has also decided to ease the restrictions.

On Monday, all retail stores reopened except department stores and malls.

Car travel will again be permitted for short distances on weekends, for families or groups of up to three people, for exercise or outdoor activities.

Strong support for the European vaccine passport, Greece hopes to start its tourist season in mid-May and derive much needed income from it.

  • Germany

Contrary to the rest of Germany, where some are calling for a new turn of the screw in the face of the third wave of Covid-19, the regional state of Saarland reopens, this Tuesday, the café and restaurant terraces, the cinemas and sports halls.

Bordering France and Luxembourg, the Saar is the first German regional state to partially lift the restrictions: henceforth cafes and restaurants, closed for five months, will be able to welcome their customers outside but with strict rules.

Thus, a maximum of five people, from two different households, will be able to take a seat at a table if they have made a reservation beforehand and if they leave their contact details.

For larger tables, customers will be required to present a negative screening test the same day.

Contact sports like football are also allowed again with a negative test.

The fitness rooms can also reopen under limited conditions with one athlete for 15 m2 and a negative test.

In Saarland, the partial lifting of restrictions will only remain authorized if the 7-day incidence rate remains stable below the 100 per 1,000 inhabitants mark.

But this easing of restrictions while a third wave of contamination is affecting Germany is far from unanimous.

Several political figures are calling for stricter containment throughout Germany while certain regions such as Berlin, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (northeast) or Hamburg have taken even more restrictive measures such as partial or complete curfews.

Chancellor Angela Merkel also advocates firmness and recently criticized some regions that are not doing enough, she says, to contain the epidemic.

  • The United Kingdom

The British will be able to find their way back to pub terraces next Monday.

On April 12, non-essential businesses like hairdressers, pub terraces and gyms will reopen in the UK.

After a confinement of several weeks, England first reopened its schools on March 8, before easing some measures last week.

On March 29, the order to "stay at home" was lifted, although it is advisable to continue working from home if possible and to avoid public transport.

Groups of six or members of two different households are now allowed to meet but only outdoors, which includes private gardens.

The practice of tennis, golf, basketball, swimming or other sports taking place in the open air has also been able to resume.

Weddings, hitherto reserved for exceptional cases, can resume, with a maximum of six people.

Traveling abroad remains prohibited and will only be authorized from May 17 at the earliest.


Coronavirus: Emmanuel Macron talks with college students on post-containment


Vaccination: March targets not met, deplores European Commission

  • World

  • Coronavirus

  • Covid 19

  • Video

  • United Kingdom

  • Germany

  • Portugal

  • Confinement

  • Greece