Covid: What restrictions are in place across Europe over Christmas?

Germany and other European countries are adopting different measures over Christmas.
Germany and other European countries are adopting different measures over Christmas. Credit: AP

With Boris Johnson under pressure to cancel the UK's relaxation of Covid restrictions over Christmas, here's a look at what other countries across Europe are advising this festive period with the continent seeing a second coronavirus wave.


Angela Merkel has ordered another lockdown over the festive period as Covid deaths and infections reach record levels.

The new lockdown will run from December 16 to January 10.

A maximum of five people from no more than two households are allowed to gather in a home.

However this will be relaxed on December 25 and 26, when one household will be able to invite a maximum of four close family members from multiple households.


France exited a national lockdown on December 15, but strict measure remain in place as infections remain high.

Nightly curfews are in place from 9pm to 7am, with the exception of Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve.

People will be allowed to travel to reunite with family, but bars, restaurants and leisure facilities will remain closed until January 20.

French police officers stop a person for a control on the Trocadero, near the Eiffel Tower, as they enforce a curfew. Credit: AP

The Netherlands

A second lockdown began on December 15 which will last for at least five weeks.

Dutch households will not be allowed to have more than two visitors over the age of 13.

Public places, including hairdressers and day care centres, will remain closed until January 19. Schools will remain closed until January 18.

From December 24 until December 26, households will be allowed three visitors.


From December 23 to January 6, travel between Spain's regions will be allowed, but only to visit friends and family.

Social gatherings on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day will be limited to 10 people - including children.

Regional governments will have the power to toughen these rules, while some will have to open their borders after having closed them.

There are differing curfews in Spain's regions, varying from 10pm to midnight, but this will be pushed back until 1.30am on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve.

The Canary and Balearic Islands will allow free movement.

People sit in a terrace bar at Mayor square in downtown Madrid. Credit: AP


Restrictions in Portugal are being eased to allow people to meet their friends and family over Christmas.

The 10-person gathering limit will be lifted entirely for Christmas, while the curfew will be pushed back from 11pm to 2am on December 24 and December 25.

Restrictions will be reimposed ahead of New Year's Eve.


Italy is said to be weighing up introducing stricter measures over the festive period.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte told Italy's La Stampa newspaper: "We now need some further restrictive measures", without giving further detail.

There are reports in Italian media that a "red zone" lockdown - the strictest of lockdown measures used in Italy - could be extended across the country after it passed the UK's death toll.

A Santa Claus figure is placed in a hall leading to the Covid-19 intensive care unit of the Tor Vergata Polyclinic Hospital in Rome Credit: AP

Czech Republic

Restaurants, hotels and indoor sports venues in Czech Republic are closing barely two weeks after reopening following another surge in cases.

Public gatherings will be limited to six people indoors and outdoors, as opposed to the current rule of 10 and 50.

School holidays have started early to limit the spread of the disease.


Austria came out of lockdown on December 7 but its restaurants and hotels will remain closed until January 6, expect for business travellers.

You can meet up with ten people from any number of households on Christmas. Children do not count towards that number.

This is a relaxation of its current rules, where you can meet with a maximum of six adults and six children from a max of two households. 

Belgium Up to four guests can be invited over for Christmas - but they must stay outside in the garden. Guests are not allowed over if they pass through the home.

And only one of those guests is allowed to enter the house to use the toilet - meaning the other three must go home if they need to use the bathroom.

“If you really have to go to the toilet, there will be nothing else to do but return home,” Belgium’s Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden said.


Greece's lockdown will last until January 7, with people needing permission to leave their homes by sending a text message to a government number, which includes the reason and their personal details.

A nationwide curfew is in place from 10pm until 5am. Shops and schools remain shut.

Book shops and hairdressers were allowed to open in the run-up to Christmas.

A hairdresser wears a face mask to protect against coronavirus, cuts a customer's hair in his shop, in Petralona, district of Athens. Credit: AP


Officials announced new measures which include early closing times for restaurants and cafes and a 25% capacity at cinemas and theatres.

Residents over the age of 65 and those in high-risk groups have been told to self-isolate.


Sweden was reluctant to lockdown during the first coronavirus wave in the spring, but strict new measures have been enforced since December 14.

Under the restrictions, gatherings should be limited to a maximum of eight people, including over Christmas and New Year's Eve.

Close contact with people outside your home should be limited to one other household and Swedes have been told to avoid shopping and using public transport.