Covid: will France be the last to reopen its restaurants in Europe?

    Covid: will France be the last to reopen its restaurants in Europe?

    Posted on Dec. 2020 at 7:01

    Restaurants will not reopen their doors in France before the start of 2021. Worse, the date of their reopening, currently set for January 20, 2021 by Emmanuel Macron, could be postponed. In question, the high circulation of the coronavirus on French territory.

    On Tuesday, Prime Minister Jean Castex stressed that he could not “guarantee”, to date, that cafes, bars and restaurants “will reopen on January 20”. “It will depend on how we spend the holiday season,” he explained. A shortfall for the sector, which recorded more than 207,000 restaurants and cafes in the country in 2016.

    Elsewhere in Europe, the reopening of these places of life is also dividing. Their major role in the transmission of the virus, highlighted by several studies, weighs on decisions. While Spain authorizes table service in certain regions and during certain time slots, Germany does not plan to reopen before January 10.

    Supervised reopening in Spain and the United Kingdom

    Several European countries have succeeded in containing the second wave, and have succeeded in reopening their restaurants. In Spain, the 280,000 food and drink companies were closed on October 16. Since November 23, most regions of the country have again authorized the opening of restaurants. In Catalonia, bars and restaurants are open until 9:30 p.m., while in the community of Madrid, establishments close at midnight.

    Same logic in the United Kingdom where the bars and restaurants, closed on October 13 have reopened since December 3. The resumption of the epidemic in part of the country, in London in particular, nevertheless pushed the authorities to establish a three-level plan, with territorialized measures. On December 14, restaurants in London, and south-eastern England, had to close their doors to contain the spread of the virus.

    In Norway, the strategy is significantly different. Restaurants, cafes and bars are open but under certain conditions in areas where the virus is actively circulating. In Oslo, for example, it is forbidden to serve alcohol in bars and restaurants.

    Threatened opening in Italy and Switzerland

    Conversely, the strategy adopted by Switzerland was to restrict opening hours. To limit the circulation of the virus, bars and restaurants closed at 7 p.m. in most areas. But with the approach of the holidays, the country, faced with a massive increase in contamination, backed down on Friday. Bars and restaurants will close their doors for one month on Tuesday. Same decision in the Czech Republic, where bars and restaurants are closing their doors this Friday, only a few weeks after their reopening. The measures announced also include a limit to 6 people for gatherings.

    A new closure which also threatens Italy. Since October 25, restaurants, bars and drinking establishments have been required to close at 6 p.m. But faced with the resumption of the epidemic, the government could institute containment measures from December 24 and until January 2. Among the measures mentioned a night curfew, the ban on all non-essential travel and the closure of shops, bars and restaurants during weekends and holidays, according to Italian media.

    In Northern Ireland, the ax has fallen. While pubs and restaurants had reopened their doors in early November, they will have to close them from December 26. A first evaluation will be organized after four weeks.

    Reopening scheduled before France in Denmark and Germany

    Like France, the majority of European countries have not yet reopened their restaurants. Nonetheless, for many, the announced reopening date is earlier than January 20. In Europe, the next to reopen should be the Danes. The measures announced on December 7 in the country, such as the closure of colleges, high schools, bars and restaurants, are valid until January 3.

    Greece could follow closely. The partial confinement imposed since November 7 in the country is to end on January 7. Bars, restaurants, but also cinemas and theaters could reopen on that date, if new contaminations do not start to rise again.

    In Germany, the easing of restrictions, and the reopening of non-essential commerce, is for the moment set for January 10, ten days before France. The country decided on October 28 to close the gastronomy, culture and leisure sectors. Supposed to last until the end of November, these measures have been extended, with more severe restrictions. An update on the health situation is scheduled for January 5.

    Late reopening in Belgium

    Dutch restaurants could reopen after France. On October 13, the country decided to close restaurants and bars through its Prime Minister Mark Rutte. On December 14, the kingdom decided to extend the confinement for five weeks, at least until January 19. Flexibilities could occur on this date, particularly at school level. But no date has been announced for the restaurants.

    The situation is similar in Belgium. The country, particularly affected by the coronavirus, has not yet indicated when the country’s restaurants could reopen to the public.

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