Déjà vu: Europeans watch as Covid restrictions are revived amid Omicron surge

Madrid Desk, Dec 28 (EFE).- The raft of Covid-19 restrictions coming into force in Europe has sparked a sense of déjà vu in France and fresh protests in Germany as pandemic-weary populations watch the virus scupper yet another festive period.

In France, which broke a grisly milestone of over 100,000 daily infections on Christmas Day, workers in the hospitality, entertainment and health sectors, the most affected by the government’s new rules, feel exasperated.

“We’re exhausted. Our artists, our technicians, our staff (…) they cannot systematically re-organize their programs anymore,” Aurélien Binder, vice-president of the Podriss union, which represents the musical entertainment industry, told France Info Tuesday.

With cases on the rise in France, the government decided to limit music venue capacity to 2,000 indoors and 5,000 outdoors for the next three weeks.

Standing sections at music venues will also be prohibited during this time, a rule that could automatically see a host of shows canceled due to the impracticality of adding seats to a venue where spectators normally stand.

Prominent figures in French culture complained that the new rules from the French government were imposed without prior consultation. The Culture Ministry said it would continue to facilitate financial aid to those affected.

Famous singers Eddy de Pretto and Julien Doré joked on social media that they would rebrand upcoming performances as political meetings, which are not subject to bans under the latest Covid measures.

The hospitality sector has also hit out at the measures issued by President Emmanuel Macron’s government.

From now it will be forbidden to consume drinks in a bar while standing up and the Covid health pass currently required to enter certain spaces will be upgraded to a vaccine pass from January 15.

This change means that only those who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 will be able to access restaurants, bars, theaters, cinemas, museums and gyms

“After almost two years and having two or three vaccines, it seems unbelievable that they would continue to curtail our liberties,” Adrien Berger, a customer at a Paris cafe, told Efe.

He was, however, in favor of tailoring restrictions to the unvaccinated.

Tougher coronavirus restrictions entered into force Tuesday nationwide in neighboring Germany, as part of the country’s efforts to quell an Omicron-driven surge in infections.

The fresh curbs come as hundreds of people have been taking to the streets to protest against restrictions taking place ahead of New Year’s celebrations.

The measures allow a maximum of 10 vaccinated people to meet in one place for private gatherings, excluding children under the age of 14.

Among those unvaccinated, the limit is one household and no more than two people from another household.

Dancing inside nightclubs, as well as fireworks, has been banned in order to avoid crowds in the pandemic.

In some German states such as Baden-Württemberg, a night curfew from 10.30 pm until 5.00 am has been imposed, although driving on New Year’s Eve will be allowed until 1.00 am.

Similar measures have been already in place in Germany for the past few weeks, limiting access to non-essential shops, cinemas, theaters, public swimming pools and other closed areas for those immunized.

Germany’s seven-day incidence rate, which hit 480 per 100,000 inhabitants at the end of November, now stands at 215, according to figures from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI)

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