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COVID-19

How is each European country emerging from coronavirus lockdown?

Tentatively, parts of Europe are emerging from lockdown, with France and Belgium joining the list of countries easing measures on Monday, amid fears of a second coronavirus wave.

How is each European country emerging from coronavirus lockdown?
European Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders, wearing a protective face mask to lessen the spread of novel coronavirus, COVID-19. Photo: JOHN THYS / AFP

Here is an overview:

France

Hair salons, clothes shops, florists and bookshops will open again Monday. Bars, restaurants, theatres and cinemas remain closed.

Primary schools will take small numbers of pupils, depending on space. Masks will be obligatory on public transport.

Everyone will be able to move outside without having to present a form on demand but people will only be able to go 100 kilometres (60 miles) from their place of residence.

The easing has brought mixed reactions. “I've been scared to death” about the reopening, said one bookshop manager from Lyon.

“It's a big responsibility to have to protect my staff and my customers.”

Belgium

Most businesses will open Monday, with social distancing. Masks are recommended.

Cafes, restaurants and bars remain closed. In central Brussels there will be speed limits on cars and priority will be given to cyclists and pedestrians.

Schools remain closed until May 18.

The Netherlands

Primary schools will partially reopen Monday. Driving schools, hair salons, physiotherapists and libraries also return, with social distancing measures.

Switzerland

Primary and middle schools will reopen Monday, with classes often reduced in size.

Restaurants, museums and bookshops will also open, with conditions. Meetings of more than five people remain banned.

Spain

Half of Spain's some 47 million people will be able to meet with family or friends in gatherings of up to 10 as of Monday.

Outdoor spaces at bars and restaurants can reopen with limited capacity. Hardest-hit Madrid and Barcelona are excluded from the easing, though football clubs FC Barcelona resumed training on Friday and Real Madrid will follow Monday.

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has called on Spaniards to show “the greatest precaution and prudence” because “the virus has not gone away, it is still there”.

Only movements within provinces are authorised and cinemas and theatres remain closed. Schools will not start up again until September.

Britain

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will address the nation on Sunday evening to set out a “roadmap” for relaxing social distancing rules.

“We have to be realistic that there isn't going to be any dramatic overnight change,” Environment Secretary George Eustice said.

Italy 

While schools remain closed until September, factories, building sites and offices reopened on May 4. Social distancing rules are in place in parks.

Wearing masks is mandatory on public transport. All retail businesses will reopen on May 18, as will museums, cultural sites, churches and libraries.

Bars and restaurants will reopen from June 1, along with hair and beauty salons. The first phase of lifting lockdown has also sparked fresh concerns.

In Milan, photographs published in newspapers of people sitting along canals enjoying aperitifs in the sunshine, many not wearing masks or respecting social distancing rules, prompted the city's Mayor Giuseppe Sala to slam the behaviour as “shameful”.

Virologist Massimo Galli also warned the city was a virus time “bomb” at risk of erupting with residents now free to move around.

Germany 

Eating at the restaurant is now possible in the northeastern state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, where the country's first cafes and restaurants reopened on Saturday.

Under Germany's federal system, each of the 16 states makes its own decisions on how to emerge from lockdown and cafes and restaurants will reopen in a number of other states in the coming days and weeks. Most shops are already open and children are slowly returning to classrooms.

Bundesliga football matches are also set to resume. Heeding signs of a second wave, German authorities have agreed to reimpose restrictions locally if an area has more than 50 new infections per 100,000 residents over a week.

Austria

Hairdressers, tennis courts and golf courses reopened in the first weekend in May.

Travel restrictions have been lifted and gatherings of up to 10 people are allowed, with social distancing. Masks are compulsory in public transport and shops.

Final-year school students returned to class on May 4 ahead of a gradual return for others. 

Poland

Hotels can reopen on Monday but foreign tourists must quarantine for two weeks on arrival.

 

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TRAVEL NEWS

France launches ski safety campaign after rising number of accidents

Injuries and even deaths while skiing in France have seen a sharp rise in recent years - leading the French government to create a new ski safety campaign.

France launches ski safety campaign after rising number of accidents

The early part of the ski season in France was dominated by headlines over the lack of snow in popular mountain resorts – but, now that climatic conditions have started to improve for skiers and there is at least some snow, the winter sports season is in gearing up to hit full swing.

READ ALSO Snow latest: Have France’s ski resorts reopened?

Heading into the winter holiday season – French schools in ‘Zone A’ break up for two weeks on February 4th, followed on February 11th by schools in ‘Zone B’, while schools in Zone C finish for the vacation on February 18th – the government has launched an awareness campaign highlighting skiing good practice and how to avoid accidents.

READ ALSO What can I do if I’ve booked a French skiing holiday and there’s no snow?

The Pratiquer l’hiver campaign has advice, posters and videos highlighting safety on the slopes, in an effort to reduce the number of accidents on France’s mountains – where, every year, between 42,000 and 51,000 people have to be rescued, according to the Système National d’Observation de la Sécurité en Montagne (SNOSM)

The campaign, with information in a number of languages including English, covers:

  • on-piste and off-piste safety advice (signalling, avalanche risks, freestyle areas, snowshoes, ski touring, etc.);
  • Help and instructions for children explained in a fun and educational way (educational games, games of the 7 families to be cut out, safety quizzes, advice sheets for sledding, skiing, prevention clips, etc.);
  • physical preparation (warm up before exercise, prepare your muscles and stretch well, also how to adapt the choice of pistes and the speed to your physical condition);
  • equipment and safety (helmet, goggles, sunscreen, etc.);
  • marking and signalling on the slopes (opening and marking of green, blue, red and black slopes, off-piste).

There are 220 ski resorts in France, the world’s second largest ski area, covering more than 26,500 hectares of land, across 30 departements.

In the 2021/22 ski season, totalling 53.9 million ‘ski days’, according to SNOSM, emergency services made 49,622 interventions in France’s ski areas, and 45,985 victims were treated for injuries.

The results show an increase in the number of interventions by ski safety services – a rise of 13 percent compared to the average of the five years prior to the pandemic – and the number of injured, up 8 percent. 

A few incidents on the slopes made the headlines at the time, including the five-year-old British girl who died after an adult skier crashed into her in the Alpine resort of Flaine, and the French actor Gaspard Ulliel, who died at the age of 37 after an accident while skiing in La Rosière, Savoie.

In total, 12 people died as a result of skiing incidents in France in the 2021/22 ski season. Three died following collisions between skiers, two after hitting an obstacle, and seven as a result of a fall or solo injuries. SNOSM also reported “a significant number of non-traumatic deaths, mostly due to cardiac problems” on France’s ski slopes.

The injuries due to solo falls – which represent 95 percent of all injuries –  on the ski slopes increased 2 percent compared to winter 2018/2019. Collisions between users fell, however (4.8 percent against . 5.6 percent) as did collisions between skiers and other people, and obstacles (0.7 percent compared to 0.85 percent).

The number of fatalities caused by avalanches, however, is at a historic low over the period 2011 to 2021, in part because of a relative lack of snow – leading to a drop in the number of avalanches and fewer people going off-piste, while awareness campaigns are hitting their mark, according to SNOSM.

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