European countries start easing Covid-19 restrictions

Madrid Desk, Mar 1 (efe-epa).- Several European countries on Monday started gradually lifting some coronavirus restrictions allowing some commercial activities to resume after being forced to close for months.

As of Monday, Germany’s hair salons resumed services after being shut for two-and-a-half months, a first step towards easing the restrictions imposed on economic activities.

The move came before Wednesday’s meeting between German chancellor Angela Merkel and heads of the 16 federal states to discuss the current viral situation and what steps will be taken next.

Germany has seen a general decline in the number of cumulative cases since mid-January, although there have been recent warnings that the spread of more contagious variants could lead to a third wave.

In neighboring Switzerland, museums and stores opened on Monday for the first time in a month and a half amid a constant drop in the coronavirus cases, although restaurants and bars remain closed.

Since mid-January, non-essential stores had been shut down. As of Monday, public gatherings of 15 people, instead of just five, are allowed.

In Belgium, authorities have relaxed some measures, with a nocturnal curfew being shortened by two hours for the whole country except for the capital city.

So-called ‘metiers de contact’ (‘contact professions’) such as barber shops, hair and beauty salons, non-automated sunbeds, non-medical pedicures, manicures, tattoo parlors, piercing and massage parlors were allowed to reopen as of Monday.

The easing of restrictions went ahead despite a moderate increase in infection numbers in the second half of February.

Meanwhile in Bulgaria, restaurants and bars reopened for the first time since 27 November.

The health ministry decreed last week that the hospitality sector could reopen, but only at 50 percent capacity and businesses will be forced to close by 11pm.

Nightclubs will remain shut for another month at least. EFE-EPA


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