Here’s how other European countries are spending Christmas - as the UK restrictions change again

Changes announced by the UK government over the weekend will see most of the UK now remaining under Covid restrictions for all but Christmas Day, while areas in Tier 4 will see no easing of restrictions at all.

The government rowed back on plans to relax restrictions across the UK between 23 December and 27 December, due to rising infections in the south of England, partly driven by a newly-identified strain of the Covid virus.

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The change in policy puts the UK more in line with most other European countries, which have largely taken a more cautious approach.

Here’s how other nations will be spending Christmas.


Germany will be entering a hard lockdown on Wednesday 16 December, closing schools and non-essential businesses throughout the Christmas period.

Chancellor Angela Merkel has said Christmas shopping has led to a “considerable” rise in social contact, resulting in an increased number of cases.

Germany had lighter lockdown restrictions in the beginning of November, allowing bars, restaurants and shopping centres to open before December.

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The new restrictions will be in place until 10 January, with a slight easing between 24 and 26 December. New Year’s Eve celebrations are all cancelled. Religious gatherings are allowed, but social distancing must be in place, and no singing is allowed.

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France is under an 8pm to 6am curfew until mid-January. President Emmanuel Macron said the curfew will be eased on Christmas Eve.

A maximum of six adults and any number of children are allowed in homes. Museums, theatres and cinemas are closed until January, as well as restaurants and bars.

Czech Republic

Hospitality venues and indoor sports venues will be closed on Friday 18 December.

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Schools are closing early for Christmas, but shops will remain open. Public gatherings are limited to six people indoors and out, moving down from the current 10 indoors and 50 outdoors.


People living in Spain will only be allowed to travel between different regions for visits to friends and family. This rule comes in place from 23 December to 6 January.

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Festive gatherings on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s wil be limited to 10 people.

Regional governments will have the power to toughen the rules.

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Portugal has similar rules in place to the UK for the Christmas period. Rules will be eased to allow people to visit friends and family, but will be reimposed in time for New Year’s Eve.

The 10 person gathering limit will be lifted for Christmas.


Italy is currently experiencing its highest number of coronavirus-related deaths since the end of March, bringing their total to 65,000.

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Italy has imposed a ban on people travelling to and from different regions within the country from 21 December to 6 January. Residents will not be allowed to leave their hometowns on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.

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Traditional midnight masses will be cancelled because of the nationwide 10pm to 5am curfew.

The Netherlands

The Netherlands went into a second lockdown on Tuesday 15 December that will last for at least five weeks, including the festive period.

Dutch households will not be allowed to have more than two visitors over the age of 13. All public spaces and day care centres are closed until 19 January.