Coronavirus measures 3.0: curfews and longer lockdowns


In the Netherlands, a curfew will be in place from 8.30 p.m. Friday, while in Germany, customers are no longer welcome with a mask made from textile. Which coronavirus measures still apply to retailers in Europe today?


Many stores to be closed again

From Friday, the Netherlands will be introducing a curfew between 8.30 p.m. and 4.30 a.m. The curfew will start half an hour later than expected, partly to give supermarkets the chance to stay open until 8 p.m. and let staff go home on time. Non-essential stores remain closed.


In Belgium, stores are open, but customers must shop unaccompanied, and store visits may last no longer than half an hour. The sale of alcohol is prohibited after 8 p.m. and night shops must close at 10 p.m. Hospitality businesses are not allowed to welcome customers, except for take-away before 10 p.m. 


Germany isalready extending its lockdown until 15 February. Non-essential stores remain closed, but when shopping at essential stores and when using public transport, people have to wear 'medical' face masks: surgical or FFP2 masks are still allowed, textile face masks are no longer allowed. 


In France, the curfew has been brought forward to 6 p.m. since 16 January. At that time all offices and stores must also be closed, and employees must be able to get home on time. The measure will remain in force for at least 15 days.

In the United Kingdom, there are strict regional lockdowns: in England and Wales, non-essential travel is prohibited, which means most stores are also closed. Scotland uses a local system with different stages of restrictions, while in Northern Ireland non-essential stores are generally closed. 


After a temporary 'Christmas easing', Ireland went back into full lockdown at the end of December. Non-essential stores are closed, hospitality businesses may only offer take-out and home delivery.


Italy divided its country into colour zones with adjusted measures, depending on the number of infections. Sicily, Lombardy and Bolzano are currently red zones which means only essential stores are open and people should stay at home as much as possible. However, other parts of the country are in an orange zone, which means non-essential stores are also closed.


In Spain, a curfew has already been declared until the beginning of May. It starts at 11 p.m. and ends at 6 a.m., although those times can deviate based on region. Other measures, too, are mainly decided upon locally. In the Catalan region, for example, large stores and shopping centres are closed, and residents are not allowed to leave their homes without a valid reason. While in the province of Aragon, bars, restaurants and non-essential businesses must close at 8 p.m.


Portugal has been in lockdown again since 15 January: non-essential stores and restaurants are shut. The measures will last at least a month but will be re-evaluated after two weeks.


Greece reopened its stores and shopping centres last Monday after a compulsory closure of two weeks. However, a curfew is still in place, there is a travel ban - even for travel within the country - and the maximum number of visitors in stores is strictly monitored. Only people who have a permit to leave their homes are allowed to visit stores.


Denmark has extended its lockdown, which has been in force since December, until 7 February. With the exception of supermarkets and pharmacies, all stores have to keep their doors shut.


Sweden shifted ground after all: until now, it was the only European country without compulsory measures. The Swedish government has now introduced an emergency law enabling it to impose restrictions on the number of visitors in stores and public places. For the time being, everything remains open.

Switzerland has tightened its measures from 18 January. Non-essential stores and restaurants must close again until the end of February. Exceptions apply to food shops, including hairdressers, repair shops, florists, garden centres and hardware stores.