How the Holiday Season has been Upended by the Coronavirus

How the Holiday Season has been Upended by the Coronavirus
Deserted streets in Amsterdam, Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Coronavirus is reducing the holiday season to a home-bound formality. Here’s how

OT Staff
December 21 , 2020
05 Min Read

With Christmas approaching, and worldwide coronavirus rates soaring, it seems like celebrations will be restricted to people’s homes this year. The World Health Organization’s ominous warning bears testament to the same. According to them, stepping out of our homes isn’t worth the risk of contracting COVID-19.

In a statement, Dr Kluge, WHO’s regional director of Europe, said: "We have a few more months of sacrifice ahead and can behave now in a way that collectively we are proud of. When we look back at these unprecedented times, I hope we all felt we acted with a spirit of shared humanity to protect those in need."


Here is how Christmas has been reduced to a home-bound formality in countries around the world:

In Bethlehem, Jesus’ birthplace, the announcement of a two-week lockdown has rendered Christmas celebrations out of bounds for the city’s inhabitants. The 6am-7pm curfew, which concludes on January 2, 2020, will restrict movement throughout the West Bank, and witness a colossal contraction in public celebrations.

On Fridays and Saturdays, the local weekends, an around-the-clock curfew will be imposed. According to Palestine’s Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh, all businesses, with the exception of pharmacies and bakeries, will be directed to put a halt to operations. Midnight Mass will be restricted to religious leaders and local dignitaries.


Amid fears of a third coronavirus wave, Italy’s government is set to impose a strict lockdown in the country over the course of the holiday season. Red Zone restrictions, equivalent to a national lockdown, will remain applicable between December 24 and 27; December 29 and January 3; and January 5 and 6. During these days, all non-essential shops, including bars and restaurants, will be forced to cease operations. Italians must stay home (apart from work/medical emergencies). On days other than these, non-essential shops will be allowed to resume services, and limited movement will be permitted.

Germany has been placed under strict lockdown measures since December 16, 2020: non-essential shops, hairdressers, and schools have been directed to suspend operations, companies have been instructed to let employees work from home, or allow them an extended break, and the number of people permitted to meet over the holiday season is expected to observe a contraction. New Year’s celebrations (public) will be prohibited, while gatherings, and the sale of fireworks will be banned. These protocols will remain applicable until January 10, 2021.


Prime Minister Boris Johnson has ‘cancelled Christmas’ for London and parts of South-East England as a consequence of a recent spike in coronavirus cases, and the alleged spread of a new coronavirus variant. All Tier-3 areas in South-East England transitioned into a Tier-4 on Sunday. Residents have been issued a stay-at-home order. Non-essential shops, gyms, cinemas, bowling alleys, and hairdressers have been asked to pull the shutters on their businesses. This is expected to go on for two weeks.


In Scotland, level four restrictions will be implemented December 26 onwards for three weeks in all places barring Orkney, Shetland, and Western Isles. This entails the closure of non-essential shops, pubs, and restaurants. Travelling outside one’s council area will not be permitted either. Prevailing restrictions will only be eased for Christmas day. No non-essential cross-border travel will be allowed between Scotland and England throughout the festive period.


In a press conference, Tanaiste Leo Varadkar said, "The kind of restrictions we would be thinking of imposing between Christmas and New Year would be restrictions on hospitality, essentially closing hospitality again, and limiting visits to one household visiting another household, but not a total ban on household visits. But for example non-essential retail and personal services would remain open."

Netherlands plunged into a five-week lockdown on December 15, 2020. Now, only essential shops will remain functional until January 19, 2021. A nation-wide curfew, from 11pm-6am, is in force, and public gatherings have been reduced to six people: indoors and outdoors. Between December 24 and 26, three guests will be allowed to congregate in one house; as opposed to the usual limit of two.

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