Europe is returning to life after coronavirus lockdown.
Schools, restaurants, bars and shops across the continent opened their doors for the first time in months Monday as governments began to loosen coronavirus restrictions.
France, which tallied the world’s fifth-highest coronavirus death toll on Monday — started to emerge from one of Europe’s strictest coronavirus lockdowns, allowing non-essential shops, factories and other businesses to reopen for the first time in eight weeks.
Boutiques on Paris’ Champs-Élysées opened their doors to the public for the first time since March 17.
Stickers on train seats marked out social distancing, and staff at metro stations handed out face masks and hand sanitizer to commuters.
But theaters, restaurants and bars will stay shuttered until at least June.
More than 177,000 coronavirus cases and 26,000 deaths have been reported in France, according to Johns Hopkins University statistics.
In Spain, restaurants, cafés and stores prepared to reopen or expand business — with caution — on Monday as parts of the country moved into Phase 1 of its coronavirus deescalation plan, El Pais reported. COVID-19 deaths and infections in the country have declined from their peak in early April.
Spain is the world’s second-most affected country behind the US, with more than 224,000 cases. The country has fourth-highest death toll, with more than 26,000 fatalities reported as of Monday.
Switzerland also relaxed measures Monday that shuttered schools, offices, restaurants and nearly all stores except food vendors and pharmacies for nearly two months.
The country is taking a phased approach to reopening, as new infections are on the decline.
More than 30,000 coronavirus cases and 1,800 deaths have been reported there.
Residents of the Czech Republic — who rank as the world’s biggest beer drinkers per capita — eagerly returned to beer gardens on Monday.
Some schools, hairdressers, malls, cinemas and other businesses were also set to reopen. Museums and galleries allowed visitors — and weddings, cultural and religious events of fewer than 100 people were given the green light to proceed.
Full training resumed for professional sports teams.
About 8,100 coronavirus cases and 280 deaths have been tallied in the landlocked country.
Germany loosened many of its restrictions last week, with children beginning to return to classrooms, shops and playgrounds reopening and gyms and places of worship unlocking their doors.
But as of Sunday, the rate of infection in the country appeared to pick up again, climbing to 1.1, meaning that 10 people with COVID-19 infect an average of 11 others, according to the Robert Koch Institute for Public Health.
A hairdresser wearing a protective face mask colors the hair of a customer in Nice, France.REUTERS/Eric Gaillard
In order for the infection rate to be deemed under control and slowing down, that figure must stay below 1, according to the institute.
The number dipped down to 0.65 as recently as Wednesday — but the country has since reported new clusters at slaughterhouses and homes for the elderly.
The institute said it’s too soon to draw conclusions, but warned that the number of new infections “would need to be watched very closely in the coming days.”
Nearly 172,000 coronavirus cases and more than 7,500 deaths have been reported in Germany.
More than 4 million cases have been tallied across the globe, the majority in the US with over 1.3 million cases.
With Post wires