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

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:

BRITAIN

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, with quarantine rules still in place for most arrivals. The government aims to lift most remaining restrictions in England on June 21.

CANADA

The province of Ontario will on June 11 enter step one of its reopening plan, allowing non-essential retail at 15% capacity, outdoor dining with a maximum of four people per table and outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people.

CHILE

Fully vaccinated Chileans can move more freely within the country but borders will remain closed until mid-June.

COLOMBIA

Colombia on June 3 approved reopening most large events like concerts and sports matches with 25% capacity for cities where intensive care units occupancy rates are below 85%.

From July 15, international travellers no longer need to present a negative PCR test and in-person classes will resume for pre-school children to university students.

FRANCE

France allowed cafes, bars and restaurants to offer outside service from May 19, with indoor dining to follow on June 30.

It pushed back a curfew by two hours to 9 p.m and will move it to 11 p.m. from June 9, before scrapping it completely on June 30.

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

GERMANY

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 have been able to enter the country without the need to quarantine, except those arriving from countries designated as risk areas.

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

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

GREECE

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 European Union, as well as Britain, the United States and Israel can visit if they have been vaccinated, show negative test results or have recovered from the virus.

INDIA

Key Indian cities re-opened for business on June 7. New Delhi’s shops were allowed to open on alternate days, while offices and New Delhi’s underground rail network can run at 50% capacity.

In the state of Maharashtra, the local government allowed malls, movie theatres, restaurants and offices to open regularly in districts where the positivity rate has fallen below 5%.

The Gujarat government has eased restrictions on commercial activities, allowing shops in 36 cities to remain open longer.

In Odisha state, lockdowns have been eased in three districts while the southern state of Tamil Nadu now allows grocery retailers to open for most of the day and offices to operate with 30% capacity.

ISRAEL

Israel reopened 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.

ITALY

Italian coffee bars, restaurants, cinemas and theatres partially reopened in most regions on April 26. Indoor service at restaurants resumed from June 1.

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

A curfew was pushed back by an hour to midnight on June 7, and will be abolished from June 21. Gyms reopened on May 24.

THE NETHERLANDS

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 until 8 p.m. Indoor service was allowed from June 5.

Public libraries opened on May 20, museums followed on June 5.

Sports matches will be allowed from June 30, with restaurants allowed to serve up to 100 people until midnight.

POLAND

Poland reopened shopping centres on May 4, hotels from May 8 and restaurants were allowed to serve food outdoors from May 15, while all students returned to school on May 31.

Cinemas, theatres, concert halls and cultural institutions opened on May 21, while indoor dining, indoor sports facilities and swimming pools reopened with capacity restrictions on May 28.

Large indoor events with up to 50 people were allowed from May 28, a number that tripled on June 6 as the country eases restrictions further. People who have been vaccinated will not be counted as part of this limit.

QATAR

Qatar will gradually lift restrictions through July 30.

From May 28, leisure, education centres, restaurants, gyms, pools and salons have been able to operate at limited capacity, but 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.

SAUDI ARABIA

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.

It lifted a ban on travellers from 11 countries including the United States, Britain, France and Japan, on May 30.

Entertainment venues were allowed to open at 40% capacity for those vaccinated from May 27.

SOUTH KOREA

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 in June.

SPAIN

Curfews were lifted across most of Spain on May 9.

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

It is considering easing rules on wearing face masks outdoors in mid-June.

The health minister said on June 2 that regions with low infection rates would be allowed to reopen discos and nightclubs until 3 a.m.

TURKEY

Turkey started easing its lockdown on May 17 by allowing daytime movement on weekdays. Its weekend lockdown was partially lifted and curfew delayed by an hour to 10 p.m on June 2, with restaurants also opening to a limited number of customers.

UNITED STATES

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.

Chicago moved up full reopening to June 11.

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