When will holidays restart? A country-by-country guide, including France, Spain and Italy

While the UK remains firmly in lockdown, with social distancing rules in place and only essential shops and services still running, many countries around the world are tentatively loosening their lockdown measures.

In Brandenburg, Germany, museums have opened their doors. Restaurants in Texas reopened last Friday, and beaches in Spain are no longer fenced off. All, of course, come with strict social distancing guidelines in place, but they show progress towards a return to some sort of normality.

The question is, when will our holidays to these places resume? The UK government still warns that British nationals should avoid all but essential travel, and indeed all but eight countries around the world have effectively banned UK tourists. So the candid answer is that we won’t be going on holiday in the immediate future.

But our holidays will resume, one day. While no country has given a set date for when inbound tourism will restart, we can look at how they are easing lockdown measures and planning for the return of tourism in the coming months. Below we give a country-by-country guide, featuring key destinations like Italy, France, Spain, Germany, the USA, Australia, Portugal, Croatia and Greece, to figure out where we’ll be going first.


What has reopened?

In mid-April the country extended the shops that could open (essential stores, like supermarkets and pharmacies, never closed), allowing bookshops, dry cleaners, stationery shops and shops selling baby clothes to open their doors. This is on a regional basis. Those shops not currently open will be able to reopen on May 18, along with museums and libraries.

As of May 4, parks reopened and bars and restaurants are now allowed to operate takeaway services, not just delivery as is currently the case. Food must be eaten at home or inside an office. Dine-in services at restaurants and bars, as well as hairdressers and beauty salons, are expected to resume from June 1. Last week thousands of restaurants, bars and shops in Italy staged a mass “reopening” in protest against the country’s lockdown measures.

Hotels in Italy were never ordered to close, but very few have continued operating since the travel ban was put in place in March. Marie-Louise Sciò, CEO and Creative Director of Pellicano Hotels told Telegraph Travel: “I want to be positive and say that in Italy, hopefully by the end of May, people will be able to travel again. We are planning to open our hotels at the end of May/early June, unless something changes. Like everyone, we are seeing [what happens] day by day, one foot after the other.”
Social distancing measures

As of May 4, people are now allowed to visit their relatives in small numbers. However there is an ongoing ban on church services. People are still being urged to keep a metre (3 feet) away from each other, and are now allowed to move around their own regions, but not cross the border between different regions.
Am I allowed to go there?

Not right now. Travel to Italy is permitted for emergency purposes only. Anyone who does arrive in Italy from abroad must self-isolate for 14 days, regardless of whether they are showing symptoms or not. They must also fill in a self-declaration (“autodichiarazione”) form stating the reason for their trip, and report immediately to local health authorities on arrival.

One airport per region has remained open during lockdown. Flights to Italy are currently few and far between. The next services to Rome, operated by Alitalia, depart on Friday from Heathrow and start from £334 one-way.
Do we know when travel will resume?

Not yet. If there is any international movement in Italy at all this summer, it’s likely to be at the very highest end of the market, according to Sara Magro, editor of the influential The Travel News. “If you can get to Italy in your private jet and then be helicoptered to a fully serviced luxury villa where you spend two weeks or more beside your own pool, an Italian trip becomes feasible.”

On April 24 Sicily’s tourism chiefs said they will pay for half the airfare and a third of accommodation costs for those who holiday on the island this summer – €50 million has been set aside to pay for this scheme, with vouchers to be made available online.

However, commenting on the plans, Telegraph Travel’s Italy expert Anne Hanley said: “This doesn’t get round the fact that no one can come into the country without a two-week quarantine. And Sicily can’t do anything until they get central government go ahead. If there’s the slightest uptick in numbers after the May 4 opening of some shops and factories, then we go back to square one. Everyone has lots of lovely ideas. They just aren’t allowed to put them into practice.”


What has reopened?

On April 28, France announced that it will ease its lockdown, ushering a new phase of its pandemic management.

What we know is that it will be in stages. Small museums, galleries and libraries – that can respect distancing guidelines – will be able to reopen from May 11. Beaches will remain shut at least until June.

However, big museums such as the Louvre in Paris, alongside theatres and concert halls will remain shut until June at the earliest. Public parks, which are currently shut nationwide, will be able to open starting from May 11 but only in “green” zones where the level of infection is considered to be safe.

France will make a decision at the end of May on whether restaurants, cafes and bars can open starting from June 2.
Social distancing measures

France’s social distancing policies reflect that of the UK and many other European countries, allowing trips outside the house for essential reasons only, including buying food, exercise, travelling to work, seeking medical care and assisting in childcare and helping vulnerable relatives.

Meanwhile major sports events, concerts and festivals with more than 5,000 participants are banned until September at the earliest – including the top flights of the French football leagues. Under the latest loosening of lockdown, cemeteries will be reopened starting from May 11 but weddings remain postponed. Gatherings in public spaces will be limited to ten people.
Am I allowed to go there?

Not at the moment. Anyone hoping to travel to France must complete a certificate for international travel from abroad to mainland France in order to enter the country, and then self-isolate for two weeks, at least until July 24. Further to this, on April 13 the French government announced that travel between the EU and non-European countries was suspended until further notice.

Permanent residents of EU countries, including France, are able to cross the UK/France border into France if they have proof of residence. UK nationals can enter France if returning to their principal residence. You must, however, complete the necessary “attestation” to enter France, confirming that your travel is absolutely necessary.

Some flights are still running from London Heathrow to Paris Charles de Gaulle. Tomorrow (May 5) AirFrance is operating a flight from Heathrow to Charles de Gaulle, costing £82. Eurostar is still running services to France, although passengers must now wear face masks on board.
Do we know when travel will resume?

No date has been given, but we can look at how businesses are planning as an indication. Guillaume Fonquernie, CEO of the luxury hotel company Airelles, said: “We feel positive about this coming summer and are hopeful that we’ll be able to fulfill the bookings we have during this period at Airelles Gordes, La Bastide and Château de la Messardière. We believe that domestic travel will bounce back first and we’ll have a strong focus on French travel to begin with, hoping that international travellers will follow soon after.”


What has reopened?

The country started lifting lockdown measures on April 20, allowing shops with a retail space of under 800 sq metres to reopen, as well as bike shops, florists, book stores and car dealerships. This is in addition to the supermarkets, pharmacies and essential services that have remained open during lockdown.

Bars, restaurants and cafés remain closed to punters, although restaurants can offer takeaway or delivery services. Body care services, such as hairdressers and nail salons, remain closed, although medically necessary appointments such as therapeutic massages are allowed.

Museums in some German states will start to reopen in the coming weeks. There will be strict safety and hygiene measures in place and restrictions on group tours. On April 22, Brandenburg opened some small museums – the first of Germany’s 16 states to do so. According to The Art Newspaper, museums in Berlin and Saxony will begin reopening as of May 4.

Since lockdown measures were introduced on March 13, hotels have been only for essential use and not for tourism, whether domestic or international.
Social distancing measures

Gatherings of more than two people are banned in most, but not all, parts of the country. In Saxony-Anhalt, a small state in east Germany of 2.3 million residents, people can now meet outdoors in small groups after six weeks in which Germans have been restricted to seeing just one person from outside their household. All big public events such as festivals and fairs are banned nationwide until the end of August, while Oktoberfest (due to start on September 19) has been cancelled. Restrictions on religious services are still in place. A minimum of 1.5m should be maintained at all times, and in some states it is mandatory to wear a face mask outdoors.
Am I allowed to go there?

No. Germany has intensified its border controls at airports and land borders, since the coronavirus outbreak. Unless you can give a compelling reason for travelling to Germany, or are a border worker commuting to Germany, you will be refused entry.

Germans aren’t allowed to leave the country, either. The nationwide travel ban will be extended to mid-June, according to a report in the Spiegel.

Limited flights are still running. On Wednesday (May 6) Ryanair is operating a flight from Stansted to Berlin Schoenefeld for £74. Lufthansa is operating two flights from Heathrow to Frankfurt tomorrow, starting from £285.
Do we know when travel will resume?

Not yet. Although in all likelihood, it will be some time. Last week the country’s tourism industry association’s head, Reinhard Meyer, said a resumption of day trips would only be possible in late summer at the earliest, and that there would be strict measures to stop domestic beaches from becoming overcrowded.

The Federal Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner has made noises that suggest summer holidays in the countryside could be permitted – albeit, most likely, for German residents in the first instance.

“Many small holiday apartments can offer farm holidays with your own living space,” she told Funke Media Group. “There is also room for sufficient social distancing in many country inns with large outdoor areas.”


What has reopened?

On April 28, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez outlined a “plan for a transition to normality” in four phases, each lasting around two weeks.

Beaches are still closed, although the Spanish government is planning to reopen some for parents and their children under the age of 15 – so long as they live no further than a kilometre away. This applies to regions including Marbella and Mijas.

Restaurants and bars remain closed, although the rules were loosened to allow for takeaway collections from restaurants. No specific date has been given for when bars and restaurants will reopen. However, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said most coronavirus cases were concentrated in cities, so restrictions would be loosened in rural areas first.

What will this look like? Initially, some bars and restaurants with outdoor terraces will be allowed to open 30 per cent of their outside tables, and hotels will be allowed to fill 30 per cent of their rooms. Cinemas and theatres will also open at one-third of capacity. No specific date has been given for when the above will happen.
Social distancing measures

Spain has seen some of Europe’s strictest social distancing rules, with armed servants of the state including Spanish Marines patrolling the streets to enforce the rules. However, the Spanish government has unveiled a “gradual de-escalation” of its social distancing measures. As of April 26, children under the age of 14 are allowed to spend an hour each day exercising outdoors. As of May 2, all Spanish citizens are now allowed to go for walks and engage in outdoor sports.
Am I allowed to go there?

Not right now. You can only enter Spain if you can prove you have an essential reason to visit. Only green residency certificates will be accepted as proof of residency – British travellers will not be able to use utility bills or property deeds as proof of residency. Travel to Spain via Gibraltar is not allowed.

There are very few flights running from the UK to Spain. On April 30, Iberia operated a flight from Heathrow to Madrid (£599).
Do we know when travel will resume?

Not yet. In the Balearic Islands, the most optimistic forecast is currently for a summer occupancy of only 30 per cent – largely from domestic tourism – which would not be financially viable in many cases. Hotel groups there are already looking to spring 2021 for any sort of normal operations, rather than autumn this year.

Some companies are still listing packages to resorts in mainland Spain, the Balearics and the Canaries for the last week of May. Jet2 is being slightly more cautious, with deals from June 17. Our Spain expert, Annie Bennett, warns against being lured in by these deals, saying: “I would certainly not advise booking a holiday for May or June yet as there is more than a fair chance that it will be cancelled and you will just be letting yourself in for a stressful time trying to get a refund.”


What has reopened?

Non-essential businesses have been closed since the United States entered lockdown in mid to late March. National parks have been closed for weeks, although Donald Trump announced that he hopes for them to reopen soon – as a result of the closures, some parks like Yosemite have seen the return of certain species like bobcats and bears.

Some states are beginning to end stay-at-home measures and are paving the way for businesses to reopen. In Texas, for example, the governor Greg Abbott plans has begun a phased exit of social distancing, allowing businesses like retail stores, restaurants, theatres and malls to open with limited capacities of 25 per cent. The order also allowed libraries and museums to open.

While New York City remains under strict lockdown, Governor Andrew Cuomo has started laying out the exit strategy for upstate New York, paving the way for manufacturing and construction businesses to reopen.

Social distancing measures

In an 18-page document outlining the US plans to lift lockdown restrictions, President Trump said that people would still be advised to stay at home when sick, maintain social distancing in public and continue to wash their hands often with soap. The announcement marked a key turning point in America’s battle against coronavirus, with Mr Trump now focusing on improving the US economy as well as tackling the outbreak.
Am I allowed to go there?

No. Since March 16, it has not been possible for British nationals to enter the USA if they have been in the UK within 14 days.

There are some exceptions to the rule. US citizens and permanent residents of the US, UN staff and diplomats are exempt and able to enter. Those who do arrive from the UK will be asked to self-isolate for 14 days.

Only 13 airports are open to flights from the UK, including JFK in New York and LAX in Los Angeles. On April 29, American Airlines flew from Heathrow to Miami (£336 with BA code-share), British Airways flew from Heathrow to JFK in New York (£372). On April 30, Austrian Airlines flew from Heathrow to Denver (£558).
Do we know when travel will resume?

It’s hard to say, although an LA Times report on when holidays will restart for Americans has concluded that the majority of experts think domestic trips by car will be possible by the summer and overseas breaks by the autumn. However, it anticipates that demand for travel will be slow to recover.

As to when international tourists will be able to enter, President Donald Trump was quick off the mark to ban travel from Europe and the UK, and has placed a 60-day ban on immigrants seeking permanent status in the US. Yet the president has been keen to jump-start the country’s struggling economy by paving the way for reopenings. No timeline has been given for when inbound tourism will resume.

The Trump administration has given states the ability to manage their own reopening rules. The three phases are listed below.

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