European nations have been some of the hardest hit by the Coronavirus pandemic. The death toll has had a profound impact on these countries, and their leaders work tirelessly to mitigate the devastation that the virus has caused.
Now that the number of deaths is starting to decrease, European governments are tentatively inching toward easing some of the restrictions imposed to curb the spread of the disease. And some are closer to freedom than others.
On April 14, Austria began opening thousands of shops that had been closed. These businesses included garden centers, small stores, and DIY establishments. It is the first step in the country’s plan to restart its economy.
As businesses reopen, social distancing measures remain in place. The Austrian government is still encouraging citizens to stay at home as much as possible.
Austria was one of the countries that took early action to implement closures after the Coronavirus problem became more pronounced. The leadership decided to shutter restaurants, theaters, bars, schools, and other enterprises deemed non-essential.
Overall, Vienna has not suffered as much as other European nations, with a reported total of 384 deaths. This is fewer than what other countries experience each day. “I am incredibly relieved, both for my colleagues and for myself because it was a very, very long time for us, and above all an uncertain time,” Barbara Kugler, a Vienna florist, told Reuters.
The first step specifically allowed shops up to 400 square meters in size to open their doors. This is about twice the size of a singles tennis court.
The Spanish government is allowing hundreds of thousands of its citizens to return to work as it eases restrictions. These include workers in construction and manufacturing industries who are unable to work from home. Bars, restaurants, shops, and other non-essential businesses remain closed for the time being.
The country has experienced more than 172,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases, which is the highest in Europe. More than 18,000 Spaniards have succumbed to the disease, which is second only to Italy.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez stated that the government would take “progressive” measures to return to normalcy, which means gradual steps toward reopening the economy. “We can’t even know what kind of normality we’re returning to,” he told CNN.
Some have criticized the government’s decision. The nation’s General Workers Union has expressed concerns about the safety of Spanish workers, urging the state to provide protective equipment for employees. Officials indicated that they would give out 10 million protective masks at metro stations and encourage social distancing.
Italy, which was the most affected by the Coronavirus, with more than 20,000 deaths, is also taking baby steps toward reopening businesses. The government is allowing a small number of stores to begin operations on a trial basis. But some enterprises, like bookstores, are choosing to remain closed for another week.
“I will be very happy to reopen as soon as we can do so safely,” said Nicoletta Maldini, who runs a bookstore. She told The Guardian, “At some point we will need to restart, but until then we need to move with caution and respect.”
Regions in Italy are allowed to ease restrictions at their own pace. Some areas like Lombardy and Piedmont are maintaining lockdown orders. Businesses located in Tuscany and Umbria are reopening as long as their staffs wear masks and gloves.
France currently does not have solid plans to reopen its economy. French President Emmanuel Macron extended the country’s lockdown order for another month, to end on May 11.
In a televised address to the nation, he explained that the restrictions had slowed the spread of the virus but had not yet curbed it. “The epidemic is starting to slow down. The results are there,” he said. “Thanks to your efforts, every day we have made progress.”
However, Macron did acknowledge that France “was not sufficiently ready for this crisis,” further explaining that the French people “will all draw all the consequences.”
Currently, France’s citizens are allowed to leave their homes only if they are buying food, going to work, seeking medical care, or exercising. Schools are closed, but Macron indicated that they would reopen on May 11. Restaurants, theaters, cafes, and hotels will remain shut for longer.
The United Kingdom has also extended its lockdown orders, remaining in place until May 7. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, currently recovering from the virus, stated that the government would not start easing restrictions until it had confidence that it could be done safely.
More than 11,000 British citizens have died from COVID-19, and the number of deaths is expected to be 15% higher than was predicted. Reuters reported that the official death toll was the fifth highest in the world, and one of the government’s senior scientific advisers stated that “the government has said the country risks becoming the worst-hit in Europe.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is set to decide on April 15 whether or not to extend the country’s lockdown orders. The nation’s National Academy of Sciences, known as Leopoldina, suggested that the country begin relaxing restrictions and open restaurants, stores, and schools. The agency also urged the state to require residents to wear face masks in public.
The organization also called for citizens to voluntarily provide cell phone data, arguing that it will “substantially improve the collection of data on the infection and immunity status of the population.” It recommended that the government refrain from imposing fines on those who violate the rules. Instead, it argued that personal responsibility should be encouraged.
The country has experienced about 3,200 deaths and 130,000 reported cases.
It seems that most European nations are, mutatis mutandis, adopting the same gradual approach to restarting their economies as the threat of COVID-19 subsides. However, governments appear to be exercising caution to prevent a resurgence of the outbreak. While it will take some time to return to normalcy, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
Read more from Jeff Charles.
For home study students and young people, Liberty Nation recommends…
All About Coronavirus
High School: The Spread of Coronavirus: How It Works
Middle School: A Scientific Look at COVID-19
Elementary School: Coronavirus: The Science
All About The Government Response To Coronavirus
High School: White House Acts on Coronavirus
Middle School: Trump Takes Action on Coronavirus
Elementary School: Trump Versus Coronavirus
Stay On Top of the Latest Conservative News
Sign Up for Free
Join Our MemberZone for $29.99/yr
Remember to check out the web’s best conservative news aggregator Whatfinger.com -- the #1 Alternative to the Drudge
Also check out newcomer ConservativeNewsDirect.com