These European countries are slowly lifting coronavirus lockdowns
Italy—which has witnessed the second highest number of COVID-19 deaths after the United States—began lifting some lockdown measures on April 14.
Italy was the first country to lockdown in Europe but has seen a recent decline in the total new daily cases.
Now, some establishments, such as bookstores and children's clothing stores, have been allowed to open under the condition that customers wear protective masks and gloves. These businesses must enforce social distancing and sanitize their shops twice a day.
France has extended its lockdown for an additional four weeks but says it plans on slowly reopening schools starting May 11.
France was placed under strict lockdown on March 17, with citizens only allowed to leave their homes for exercise and essential groceries and medication. Anyone breaking the rules has been subject to fines.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced that some lockdown restrictions could be lifted by April 20, after a four week lockdown that began on March 22.
Students will gradually return to school starting May 4 and some stores will be allowed to open but with strict rules regarding social distancing and sanitizing.
This week, an estimated 300,000 non-essential employees went back to work in the Madrid region, as Spain lifted some of its lockdown measures which have been in place since March 15.
Spain—which has the second highest number of cases worldwide and an above-average fatality rate at 10.1%—has allowed some industries, such as construction, to return to work while bars and restaurants remain shut.
Currently, the lockdown will remain in place until April 26 but could be extended. Meanwhile, the police are distributing more than 10 million face masks to those individuals returning to work.
Garden centers and small stores have reopened in Austria but customers are required to continue social distancing and must wear masks.
After Italy, Austria was the first European country to impose lockdown measures. Now, it's one of the first European countries to lift lockdown measures. The government says it has now flattened the curve of new infections and plans on slowly lifting restrictions.
Denmark plans on easing the mitigation strategy after the latest numbers revealed a lower number of new cases than expected. On March 12, the government limited gatherings, increased testing and sanitizing efforts.
Now, children have returned to schools and some churches were opened for Easter last weekend. All large gatherings and festivals, however, remain canceled until the end of August.