Here are 10 countries sacrificing the holidays and locking down over the festive period


18 December 2020, Saxony, Bautzen: Christmas lights hang over the empty Reichenstraße in front of the Reichenturm. So far, there has been no sign of a turnaround in new infections in the state of Saxony. According to the Ministry of Health in Dresden, the seven-day incidence climbed to 415 on Thursday (17.12.2020). On Wednesday, the value was still at 407. Saxony thus continues to be well ahead of all other federal states. Photo: Sebastian Kahnert/dpa-Zentralbild/dpa (Photo by Sebastian Kahnert/picture alliance via Getty Images)
Christmas lights hang over an empty street in Bautzen, Germany, on December 18, 2020. Sebastian Kahnert/picture alliance via Getty Images
  • A number of countries have announced strict lockdown measures spanning Christmas and New Year’s.

  • Coronavirus cases are still rising in many countries, with holiday travel and celebrations providing a breeding ground for the virus. 

  • Here are 10 countries enforcing new measures. 

  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

A number of countries have chosen to drastically curtail Christmas and New Year’s celebrations in the face of rising COVID-19 cases. 

The trend is particularly apparent in mainland Europe, where curfews, lockdowns, and limits on private and public  gatherings have been reintroduced.

Here are 9 countries where Christmas 2020 and New Year’s 2021 will be like never before.

Germany

14 December 2020, Hamburg: Passers with nose-mouth-guards walk through the Christmassy decorated shopping street "Spitalerstraße" in the city centre. From 16.12.2020, Hamburg is stepping up its measures to contain the corona pandemic in view of the continuing high infection figures. Photo: Daniel Bockwoldt/dpa (Photo by Daniel Bockwoldt/picture alliance via Getty Images)
People seen in Hamburg, Germany, on December 14, 2020. Daniel Bockwoldt/picture alliance via Getty Images

Germany entered a new Christmas lockdown on Wednesday, with only food shops and essential services like gas stations, chemists, and post office allowed to stay open.

Singing Christmas carols and drinking outdoors is banned, but Christmas tree vendors have been allowed to remain open.

From Christmas Eve to Boxing Day only, families are allowed to be visited by four other adult family members.

Precautions have also been put in place for New Year’s Eve. Any and all public gatherings have been banned, as has the sale of fireworks.

The lockdown began on the same day that Germany reported 952 deaths: a new daily record.

Source: Deutsche Welle, BBC

United Kingdom

london tier 4 lockdown
A deserted road opposite the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden in London, England, on December 19, 2020. Keith Mayhew/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Saturday that Christmas was canceled in London and parts of the South East and East of England. They will be entering into “Tier 4” lockdown restrictions, five days before Christmas.

Under these new tougher restrictions, people living in these areas will be expected to remain at home apart from limited exemptions set out in the law. 

Meanwhile, those living in “Tier 2” or “Tier 3” regions have also been subject to a change in rules. The five proposed days of “Christmas bubbles” will now be replaced with a three-household bubble on Christmas Day alone.

Across all of England, people are advised not to travel. “We’re asking everyone in all tiers to stay local. People should carefully consider if they need to travel abroad,” Johnson said.

The new rules are in response to the sudden emergence of a fast-spreading variant of COVID-19, which is currently believed to be up to 70% more transmissible than the original strain.

News of the new strain has already prompted other European countries to act as the Dutch government announced on Sunday that it would ban all flights from the UK, Reuters reported.

Johnson’s announcement resulted in traffic jams and packed trains late on Saturday as thousands tried to flee London before the new restrictions come into effect.

Denmark

Hundreds of Danish farmers and fishermen demonstrate with tractors against a government decision to cull their minks to halt the spread of a coronavirus variant on November 21, 2020. - More than 500 tractors, many decked out with the Danish flag, drove past the government's offices and parliament in Copenhagen to the port. (Photo by Thibault Savary / AFP) (Photo by THIBAULT SAVARY/AFP via Getty Images)
Danish farmers and fishermen demonstrate against a government decision to cull their minks on November 21, 2020. THIBAULT SAVARY/AFP via Getty Images

Denmark’s prime minister Mette Frederiksen announced a nationwide Christmas lockdown on Wednesday December 16.

The same day, health authorities reported a record 3,692 daily cases, a new record. 

All businesses, except essential food and medical stores, must close between December 25 and January 3. 

As many as 10 people can gather together for Christmas celebrations if social distancing can be observed. Rules for New Year’s Eve are due to be announced the week beginning December 21.

Source: DR

Poland

FILE PHOTO: Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki speaks at a memorial concert to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the German Nazi death camp Auschwitz at the State Opera in Berlin, Germany, January 27, 2020.     Odd Andersen/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki seen in Brussels in February 2020. Reuters

On Thursday, Poland announced a national lockdown from December 28 to January 17.

It is also forbidden to travel between towns or cities starting from 7 p.m. on New Year’s Eve until 6 a.m. on New Year’s Day.

Public gatherings on New Year’s Eve have been limited to five people. Wedding parties are also forbidden. 

Schoolchildren under the age of 16 can’t leave home without adult supervision during the school holidays.

Source: Government of Poland

The Netherlands

Amsterdam reopening
Tourists and locals enjoying on the terrace at the Leidseplen amid the Coronavirus pandemic on June 1, 2020 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Paulo Amorim/NurPhoto via Getty Images

On December 14, the Netherlands ordered all non-essential shops to close and told everyone to stay inside if possible until January 19, 2021.

In general, households can only entertain two adult visitors who live elsewhere, but on Christmas Eve and Christmas day three people may visit.

Bars and restaurants had been closed for weeks, and will remain shuttered.

 “We’re not dealing with a simple flu,” prime minister Mark Rutte said. “I’m afraid we’re going to have to swallow the bitter pill.”

Source: Euronews, Sky News

Romania

FILE PHOTO: Romania's President Klaus Werner Iohannis arrives for the second day of a special European Council summit in Brussels, Belgium February 21, 2020. Ludovic Marin/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo
Romania’s President Klaus Werner Iohannis Reuters

Romania has extended its existing lockdown until January 15.

A daily curfew is in place from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m., which will apply on Christmas Eve and on New Year’s Eve too.

Face masks are compulsory indoors and outdoors in public areas. Christmas parties are banned in public and private areas both indoors and outdoors.

Anyone found breaching the rules can be fined a maximum of $3,800.

Source: UK Government travel advice 

Hungary

BUDAPEST, Dec. 2, 2020 -- Christmas lights and decorations are seen in downtown Budapest, Hungary, Dec. 2, 2020. (Photo by Attila Volgyi/Xinhua via Getty) (Xinhua/Attila Volgyi via Getty Images)
Christmas lights and decorations are seen in downtown Budapest, Hungary, December 2, 2020. Xinhua/Attila Volgyi via Getty Images

The whole of Hungary has been under a 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew since November 10 and family gatherings are limited to 10 people. This includes Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban said that the rules also apply on New Year’s Eve and that all parties are banned.

Source: About Hungary

Czech Republic

PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC - DECEMBER 05: Members of the Cirk La Putyka troupe entertain people driving through with their cars on the eve of St. Nicholas Day on December 05, 2020 in Prague, Czech Republic. On the eve of St. Nicholas, Czechs traditionally celebrate by dressing up as Devils, Angels, and St. Nicholas, and visiting children, handing out little presents. Amid the coronavirus crisis, Circ La Putyka troupe offered a drive-thru celebration as spectators drove a route visiting heaven, hell, and St. Nicholas. Due to the governments restrictive measures, the usual traditions of door-to-door visiting would be impossible. The eager guests formed a long line of cars at the Circ La Putyka base in Prague. (Photo by Gabriel Kuchta/Getty Images)
A drive-through Christmas celebration on December 05, 2020 in Prague, Czech Republic. Gabriel Kuchta/Getty Images

Most non-essential businesses shuttered on December 18 and all gatherings have now been limited to six people.

A nationwide curfew from 11 p.m. until 5 a.m. has also been enforced.

“This year’s Christmas will be totally different, but that is the result of the situation we are in,” Jan Blatný, the country’s health minister, said.

Source: Guardian 

Italy

colosseum rome italy tourism
Italy’s Carabinieri police in front of the Colosseum on June 1, 2020. Andrea Ronchini/NurPhoto via Getty Images

While not yet officially confirmed, Italian newspapers reported on December 18 that the government is due to announce a national lockdown active between December 24 and 27 and between December 31 and January 3.

“For the period from Christmas Eve to Epiphany, whether until the 3rd or 6th of January, the more restrictions there are, the better,” Francesco Boccia, Italy’s Minister for Regional Affairs, said Thursday.

Source: The Local

Turkey

ISTANBUL, TURKEY - DECEMBER 17: Surroundings of Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque remain empty after a general curfew imposed every weeknight from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. within measures against a second wave of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in Istanbul, Turkey on December 17, 2020. (Photo by Arif Hudaverdi Yaman/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
The Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque seen during the curfew in Istanbul, Turkey on December 17, 2020. Arif Hudaverdi Yaman/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Being a majority Muslim country, Turkey does not widely celebrate Christmas, but from 9 p.m. on New Year’s Eve until 5 a.m. on January 4, 2021, the whole country will be under a lockdown. 

However, it only applies to residents, and foreign tourists are exempt from the order, and can sight-see at their leisure.

Source: Independent, The New York Times 

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