As always, Jesu Lieve Heer is welcomed at Christmas, but we have to wait for the decision of the Consultation Committee to decide who can join him. Some neighboring countries have already made the decision. How do they handle the holidays?
The four parts of the country – England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – have aligned the violins and agreed on a common approach. During the Christmas holidays, the rules will be relaxed for five days, from December 23 to 27. In Northern Ireland, the easing will continue for one more day, until December 28, to give those who wish more time to travel to the region.
Up to three families can form a bubble together and come together. They are not allowed to switch bubbles during that time and must remain cautious at all times. “I would not advise anyone to kiss and hug older family members,” said Chris Whitty, one of the UK government’s chief health advisers. “Don’t hug family members you want to hug alive again later.”
There are no relaxations on New Year’s Eve and New Year. “I know that New Year is special for many people, but the virus is still there,” Scottish Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon justified that decision.
As Germany continues to struggle with the corona figures, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the 16 states have jointly decided to extend the partial lockdown and to tighten it themselves in some regions. In exchange there will be some breathing space around Christmas.
Between December 23 and January 1, Germans are allowed to see up to ten people, not including children under 14. The government asks them to avoid any social contact a week before the holidays.
Now that France has passed the peak of the second wave, according to President Emmanuel Macron, the lockdown will be lifted in mid-December. In exchange there will be a curfew between 9 pm and 7 am.
On Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve there is an exception and the French are allowed on the street at night. They are then also allowed to meet with their families, Macron said. He asked that the number of adults in a room be limited, without adding a number. Big street parties around the turn of the year are out of the question.
Other countries are waiting
Other European countries have yet to take the plunge. The Netherlands decided on December 8, but the numbers don’t look good. This week there were roughly the same number of infections as the week before. ‘If people want to celebrate Christmas with slightly more flexible rules, we have to do everything we can,’ said Health Minister Hugo De Jonge.
Luxembourg is still in partial lockdown until December 15 and what happens next has not yet been decided. “The government will do everything in its power to ensure that we can celebrate Christmas with the family,” said Health Minister Paulette Lenert. “If we respect the rules, we can aim for a Christmas that is a little bit more normal.”
In Italy Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte warned that it will be a special Christmas. The country is divided into green, orange and red zones where different rules apply. Chances are that this also applies to Christmas. One hot issue is the midnight mass, which could not take place under the current national curfew.
Also in Spain there is still no clarity. The regions themselves decide which measures to impose. Christmas markets may take place in several places and the Spaniards will be allowed to gather with six people.