As EU countries continue to fight the high rate of Covid-19 infection through national or regional blockades, it is too early to say whether current travel restrictions will be eased by Christmas.
However, there are indications that many countries may try to relax the rules on household mixing to allow families to come together to celebrate.
The UK can allow a five-day relaxation of the rules
On The BBC reported on how the government’s medical adviser, Susan Hopkins, said they were working on a plan and wanted Christmas to be “as close to normal as possible”.
Speculation is that a five-day relaxation of household mixing is allowed, ideally across England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland, to allow families to cross borders to celebrate.
Scotland prepares for ‘digital Christmas’
In Scotland, Prime Minister Nicholas Sturgeon’s senior public health adviser, Asoneon Leach, told people they needed to prepare for a “digital Christmas”.
Meanwhile, all four countries in the UK are working together to bring back students from schools and universities through a “student travel window” from 3 to 9 December.
Germany closes its Christmas markets
Germany is considering allowing private gatherings for up to two households over Christmas, but has canceled all Christmas markets.
The mayor of Leipzig, which traditionally has a large holiday market, said: “I’m a big fan of the Christmas market. But we have to face the realities. Health comes first. I am pleased that we can still decorate the streets and squares and thus offer the people of Leipzig a little Christmas atmosphere.“
Sweden may restrict travel and restrict the sale of alcohol
As reported by The BBCSweden’s top epidemiologist Anders Tegnel has urged Swedes to prepare for the possibility of travel being restricted to certain areas during the Christmas period so that health care providers and service providers are not overwhelmed.
However, he also said a decision would be made in two or three weeks – many new Swedish infections are coming from private parties. That is why it is forbidden to sell alcohol after 10 pm.
Ireland tells Irish overseas countries to book tickets “too early”
The Irish Prime Minister, Leo Varadkar, has told Irish citizens living abroad that they should not book flights to return to Ireland for Christmas, when it is too “early” to give advice on travel restrictions during the holiday season.
Italy has promised an unlocked Christmas for Santa
Italian Prime Minister Useupe Conte assured the children of Italy through a post on Facebook that Santa Claus will be able to deliver gifts as usual this Christmas, because “he is good and will surely wear a face mask to protect himself.”
The news is similar to the promise made by Prime Minister Jacasinda Ardern to New Zealand children during the first wave of the pandemic that the Easter bunny and the fairy are necessary workers and can continue to travel around the country visiting families.
The Hague Sinterclass festival without crowds
In The Hague, the Netherlands, the annual television parade through the streets of St. Nicholas, called Sinterklaas, was crowded.
The event, held in mid-November, allows Sinterklaas to arrive by boat before celebrating Christmas traditions, according to AP, on December 5th.
France allows Christmas trees, but does not plan
French Prime Minister Jean-Castec was asked about Christmas at a press conference and while it was too early to say, as reported by Local, the government ‘s goal was to allow “French family celebrations”, but Christmas “will not be as usual” this year. “It is unreasonable to expect big parties or gatherings of dozens of people, especially on New Year’s Eve,” he said.
However, French Agriculture Minister Julien Denormandi confirmed that Christmas trees would be considered a staple of the holiday season and that people could start selling trees on November 20th. French people are only currently allowed to leave their homes to buy essentials, and the government is strongly lobbying to allow the sale to take place. 6 million trees are sold in France every Christmas and 80% – as reported Joining– are domestic.
The Prime Minister of France, Jeanne Castex, said it was too early for anyone in France to make Christmas travel plans. France is currently under a four-week blockade where everyone has to download a form, a attestation, explaining why they leave the house. People are allowed to go to work (if they cannot work from home) and do basic shopping, seek medical help or medication, or exercise for an hour, no more than 1 km from their home (0.62 miles) .