Yesterday was a big day in our next step recovering from the COVID-19 crisis here in Europe. May 4th was a day that several European countries used as the beginning of their “phase 2”,. These are the next steps in reopening the countries and various commercial activities after the quarantines took place weeks (in some countries, months) ago. This is a promising move in a very positive direction for us. The numbers have dropped dramatically, and we are all eager and ready to return to our lives and our jobs.
Here in Italy, we are lucky to have amazing weather and have been taking advantage of the numerous hiking trails and the beautiful sea right in our backyard. Boat trips are allowed with family members you live with and so is swimming! Megan’s been walking with Luigi and exploring hamlets in the hills over the sea. Kate’s been on her boat taking in this gorgeous sun. Lisa can start to row again. Christine even went swimming with 16-month old Lilia (the water was a bit chilly)! As we say in Italy, piano piano…little by little, we are returning to our normal lives. And we cannot wait! Our colleagues, suppliers, good friends in hotels and B&B’s have all been in close and frequent contact and are as hopeful and ready to go as we are.
We’ve put together some of the reopening dates for you, country by country, to keep you updated on where we stand in the midst of COVID-19! Please remember that these dates can, and do, change quite frequently. The situation is constantly moving! Since all of the countries we visit have different governments and laws, each country is on its own timeline. Some, like Italy and Spain, have had incredibly restrictive measures from the beginning. Whereas others saw the virus arrive a little later and are a few weeks behind. Regardless, this is all positive news.
Stay safe, everyone – and remember, your travel dreams are not so far away!
May 4: Bars and restaurants for take out or delivery. Solo sport and physical activity are allowed outside the home. Travel within your region possible for work, medical reasons or to see family. No large gatherings allowed even at home.
May 18: Shops, libraries and museums reopen, team sports allowed.
June 1: Restaurants, cafes, bars (all with space restrictions and COVID-19 safety restrictions to be announced) and hairdressers reopen – estimated reopening date for hotels and beaches.
May 4: Small retail businesses with “low congestion levels”. The Greek Prime Minister said yesterday that COVID-19 has been almost completely eradicated from Greece, so this timeline may move up in the next few days.
May 11: All remaining businesses (besides shopping malls)
May 18: Archaeological sites
June 1: Year-round hotels, outdoor restaurants and cafés
July 1: Seasonal (island) hotels, indoor restaurants and cafés. The Greek PM estimates that July 1 the country will be able to reopen for tourism as “normal” with precautions.
May 11: Planned reopening of schools on a voluntary basis and shops, some small museums and libraries
May 18: Secondary schools reopening in “green” areas (very low infection areas)
June 2: Planned reopening of restaurants, bars and beaches
May 3: End of national COVID-19 State of Emergency
May 4: opening of local shops, hairdressers, beauty salons, car dealerships and bookshops
May 18: larger shops; restaurants, cafés and terraces (at half capacity); museums, palaces and monuments; daycare centers; and in-person classes for 11th- and 12th-year students preparing for exams.
June 1: larger stores and shopping malls, preschools, cinemas, theaters and religious services. Some football may return without spectators, and beaches are due to open then too, with a system for crowd control that is still to be decided.
May 4: Small businesses will be allowed to reopen, while specific shopping hours will set out for those who are over 65 years old. Larger shopping centers will remain closed. This first phase would be enacted across the majority of mainland Spain, with Sanchez saying that Formentera Island, the Balearic Islands, and the islands of La Gomera, El Hierro and La Graciosa, in the Canary Islands would follow at a later date.
Cultural events will less than 50 people in enclosed areas and 400 in outside spaces will be allowed. Hotels and other tourist accommodation will also reopen; however common areas will not be accessible. Face masks are “highly recommended” on public transport.
COVID-19 Phase 2 to be decided: Restaurant interiors will be permitted to carry out table service, while educational centers will also be able to open with exceptions.
May 4: In the second phase other businesses, with closer contact to the public, will be able to reopen, such as hairdressers, beauticians, barbers, pedicure, etc. However, all these businesses will have to work with special measures such as masks, gloves, visors and disinfections. Also in this stage private health institutions will be able to reopen, again with special epidemiological measures, also the state health system will begin to operate at all levels.
May 11: Scheduled phase 3 – internal air transport will be able to operate again, opening up flights between Dubrovnik and Zagreb and Split. Also public transport between counties will be reopened as the country once again comes together in one unit as opposed to the travel regulations that have divided the country. Shopping centers will also be able to reopen their doors. And some school classes will also reopen, including preschools and classes from grades 1 to 4, as well as the work with children with disabilities. National parks will also be able to reopen their doors. And café bars and restaurants will be able to open, but only outside terraces and with special protective measures. In this third phase public gatherings of up to a maximum of ten people will also be allowed.
May 20: end of lockdown (extended until May 20), estimated reopening of some shops and stores for take out. The government has not yet provided a timeline for the reopening of the country and commercial activity.