9 Countries Reducing COVID Restrictions

Netherlands, Denmark, Italy, Belgium, Portugal, U.K., France, Ireland, and Finland.

QUICK FACTS:
  • Several countries have recently taken steps to lift Covid-19 restrictions, The Washington Examiner reports.
  • The Omicron variant has proved less of a threat than the delta variant, convincing many world leaders to make the transition.
  • Nations curbing restrictions include the Netherlands, Denmark, Italy, Belgium, Portugal, the U.K., France, and Ireland.
LIST OF COUNTRIES BACKING OFF COVID RESTRICTIONS:
  • The Dutch government said this week it will lift rules imposed on the public last month that effectively shut down bars, restaurants, and museums, now allowing businesses such as cafes, bars, and restaurants to stay open until 10 pm, but only to people who show proof of vaccination or recent recovery from a coronavirus infection.
  • “The pandemic is still here, but with what we know, we now dare to believe that we are through the critical phase,” said Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, calling this transition “a milestone.” Restrictions on business operating hours, the use of Covid-19 vaccine passports, and required masking in indoor public spaces will be gone, starting Feb 1.
  • Italy will ease travel restrictions on other European countries starting Feb 1 as well, as long as people can show proof of vaccination, recent recovery, or a negative test in a digital documentation system known as the “green pass,” The Examiner reports. European travelers to Italy will no longer have to take a test before arrival provided they can show their green pass.
  • Belgium Prime Minister Alexander De Croo announced last week that restrictions on businesses and entertainment venues would be loosened slightly starting Jan 28. Bars and restaurants can remain open until midnight, though nightclubs will remain closed. Indoor businesses such as bowling alleys, paintball and laser tag centers, indoor playgrounds, casinos, and sporting events venues will be able to open, though masking is still required.
  • Portugal’s Prime Minister Antonio Costa announced a series of loosened restrictions earlier this month. Schools opened on schedule on Jan 10, while nightclubs and bars reopened a week later, to everyone who could produce proof of a negative test.
  • In the United Kingdom, citizens no longer have to wear masks in public or present proof of vaccination to enter event venues and businesses such as restaurants and pubs. “Because of the extraordinary booster campaign, together with the way the public have responded to the Plan B measures, we can return to plan A in England and allow plan B regulations to expire as a result from the start of Thursday next week,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said last week.
  • In France, Prime Minister Jean Castex announced last week that audience capacity limits for concert halls, sporting matches, and other events will be lifted Feb 2, people also being permitted to abandon their facemasks when outdoors. Nightclubs may reopen in mid-February. People will also be able to eat and drink at stadiums, movie theaters, and public transport.
  • Ireland, almost all Covid-19 restrictions expired last weekend, though masks are still required until Feb 28. Outdoor and indoor event capacities were scrapped, too, as well as early closing times and six-to-a-table rules for pubs and restaurants, The Examiner details.
  • And Finland will ease restrictions from February, Euronews reports. Restrictions will ease on restaurants, which will be able to stay open until 9:00 pm, the government said. They will be limited to 75% capacity.
BACKGROUND:
  • The relaxing of Covid-19 mandates in Europe comes as the trucker “Freedom Convoy” is set to protest Canada vaccine mandates this weekend.
  • A convoy of Canadian truckers and their supporters are expected to descend on the nation’s capital city of Ottawa Saturday to protest Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Covid-19 vaccine mandates, The New York Post reports.
  • The Freedom Convoy began as a protest against a vaccine requirement for cross-border truckers, but has grown into a mass demonstration against the Canadian government over other coronavirus regulations.