COVID-19: lockdown and new restrictions across Western Europe

Date : 26 November 2020

Maxime Delacour

Senior Retail Analyst

(Last updated 26/11/2020) As Western European countries are facing a second wave of COVID-19 infections, several governments are implementing stricter restrictions including second national lockdowns. Here is an update of the latest announcements across the region


Latest (update 26/11/2020):

  • Lockdown to be extended until at lest 20 December, with non-essential businesses to remain closed
  • Face mask is mandatory in front of shops and stores' car park 
  • New rules limiting the number of shoppers allowed in-store:
    • Sales area of up to 800 sq m: one person per 10 sq m 
    • Larger stores: one person per 20 sq m

The German government and the 16 federal governments agreed on a national lockdown to be implemented nationwide from Monday 2nd of November:

  • All non-essential businesses including bars, restaurants and hotels will have to close for the rest of the month. However, for bars and restaurants delivery services and collection of orders will remain possible
  • Retailers will remain open as long as they comply with the new rules including the limit of one shopper per ten square meters in-store and limited queues outside of stores
  • Schools will remain open, unlike during the first lockdown


Latest (update 25/11/2020):

  • All non-essential shops to reopen on Saturday 28 November
  • Rule of one shopper per 8 sq m allowed in store (store area including space used by shelves and fixtures)
  • Stores with a sales area bigger than 400 sq m must count and monitor the number of shoppers
  • Hospitaly businesses including restaurants and cafes to remain closed until the 20th of January 
  • National curfew between 9pm and 7 am to be implemented from 15 December
  • Travel limited to 20 km from home

France’s president Emmanuel Macron announced a national lockdown starting from Friday 30th of October until, at least, the 1st of December:

  • Schools will remain open. But universities will be closed
  • Where possible, people are asked to work from home

These measures will be reviewed every two weeks with the aim for non-grocery retailers to be able to reopen as soon as possible. Small and independent non-essential shops will receive financial support of up to 10,000€ per month.


The Italian government has implemented new restrictions and has extended its nationwide state of emergency until 31st January 2021. Furthermore, the government has introduced a three-tier framework. The framework is demonstrated through a traffic light system.

Red zones show the highest rate of infection meaning restaurants, bars, non-essential shops, hairdressers and beauty salons will close. Only essential services and shops will remain open. Lombardy, Calabria, Piedmont and Valle d'Aosta are classified as red high-risk areas.

Orange zones mean restaurants and bar will closed. However, hairdressers and beauty salons can remain open. Puglia and Sicily are classified as medium risk areas.

Green zones will follow the national guidelines set out by the Italian government including:

  • Bars and restaurants will be closed by 6pm
  • Weddings, funerals and baptisms are banned
  • Gyms, swimming pools, gambling venues, cinemas and theatres are closed
  • Schools remain open, however secondary school students started remote learning
  • Museums and galleries are closed
  • Residents were strongly advised to remain in their areas unless for work/study and health reasons
  • Public transport has limited its capacity by 50%- down from 80%
  • Face masks are mandatory indoors and outdoors, but are not required in private homes


As of 25th October the Spanish government increased its safety measures initially for 15 days. Although, on review Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez stated an extension has been agreed by parliament until May 2021. Spain’s regional leaders can introduce partial stricter lockdowns, with restricted movements in and out of those areas and bars and restaurants closing.

  • Madrid’s regional government announced the regions perimeter will close between 4th-14th December 2020
  • Since 23rd November 2020, Catalonia has opened bars and restaurants but has set curfews of 9.30pm and a maximum capacity of 30% indoors and no limit for outdoor capacity
  • Navarra has extended the closure of its border until 18th December 2020 and is considering opening outside bars and restaurants from the 26th November 2020

The national restrictions include:

  • National curfew from 11pm-6am, but does not apply to the Canary Islands and can be adjusted by regional authorities by a one-hour margin
  • Permitted journeys include work, health related and caring for the elderly
  • Public and private gatherings limited to up to six people who do not live together
  • Face masks are mandatory by everyone over the ages of six on public transport and in indoor public spaces


  • In mid-November, Dutch Prime Minister said that current measures must remain in place through mid-December
  • This means that people are encouraged to have no more than two visitors per day to their homes, excluding children under the age of 13
  • Outside of the home, no more than two people or one household can meet, excluding children under the age of 13
  • People must where masks in indoor public spaces and on public transport, excluding children under the age of 13
  • Places serving food and drink must close, although takeaways are still available.
  • Places providing takeaways must close no later than 01.00
  • Grocery stores may open later than 20.00, although no alcohol can be sold or delivered between 20.00 and 07.00.
  • Between these hours people cannot consume alcohol or have it on their person in public areas
  • Grocery stores must provide exclusive shopping times for the elderly and those in at-risk groups
  • Most events cannot take place. For a list of the full exceptions to this rule, please visit this website
  • People are encouraged to work from home where possible


  • People can no longer visit the homes of friends and family, although one close contact is allowed outside of their household. Those living alone can have close contact with two people outside of their household
  • Wearing a mask is mandatory throughout the country and ntionally there is a curfew between 00.00 and 05.00. Some areas have tighter restrictions
  • No more than four people can meet outside
  • Essential shops including supermarkets, bakeries, pharmacies and post offices are open, as are garden centres, newsagents and DIY stores
  • People can shop with a maximum of four people and the maximum time allowed for shopping is 30 minutes
  • All restaurants, cafes and bars are closed, although takeaway is allowed until 22.00
  • Alcohol sales are prohibited after 20.00
  • Non-essential shops are closed, as are all cultural venues
  • Working from home is mandatory. If this is not possible, people must wear a face mask in the workplace and ventilation should be guaranteed
  • Schools are closed until November 15th. After this time, younger pupils can return as normal. Half of older pupils will be able to attend on-site, while the remainder will conduct distance learning
  • University courses will take place virtually until December 1st. Subsequently, first year students will be able to attend on-site


  • As of November 24th, only eight people may attend general gatherings and public activities
  • As of November 23rd, secondary schools can use distance learning to complement teaching on-site and reduce overcrowding
  • As of November 20th, the government is allowing the Public Health Agency of Sweden to impose local bans on visiting retirement homes
  • As of November 12th, the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs has proposed a new law temporarily banning the sale of alcohol after 22.00
  • As of November 9th, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs extended its warning against all non-essential travel to countries outside of the EU/EEA/Schengen area and the UK until January 31st 2021
  • As of November 3rd, those dining at restaurants will be limited to eight people. Restaurants are advised to ensure that there is at least one metre between dining groups or to restrict the number of visitors who can attend at the same time
  • A series of regional measures have been introduced:

    As of November 19th: Jämtland County
    As of November 16th: Gävleborg and Västernorrland
    As of November 10th: Kalmar, Västerbotten and Norbotten Counties
    As of November 9th: Blekinge County
    As of November 5th: Kronoberg and Södermanland
    As of November 3rd: Jönköping, Halland and Örebro Counties
    As of October 29th: Stockholm, Västra Götaland and Östergötland County
    As of October 27th: Skåne County, which includes the southern city of Malmö
    As of October 20th: Uppsala County
  • While measures may vary by county, people in these areas are urged to refrain from ‘visits to indoor environments such as shops, shopping centres, museums, libraries, swimming pools and gyms. Necessary visits to grocery stores and pharmacies are allowed’
  • They are also advised to ‘refrain from participating in gatherings such as meetings, concerts, performances, sports training, matches and competitions. However, this does not apply to sports training for children and young people born in 2005 or later’
  • Being in ‘physical contact with people other than those with whom you live should be avoided. This means, among other things, to refrain from arranging or attending parties and similar social gatherings’


  • An outbreak at a mink farm has led to Denmark tightening restrictions further in the north of the country. Residents are restricted from moving between regions, while restaurants and bars have also been shut.
  • It is mandatory to wear facemasks in all indoor public places. Children under the age of 12 and those with other health conditions are exempt
  • People have been advised to restrict social contact to only 10 people outside of their household
  • Restaurants are required to close after 22.00 and alcohol cannot be sold after this time 


Looking for more insight?

Please have a look at our COVID-19 dedicated page for further insight and news. 

Six months ago we shared a series of hypotheses focused around how retail, society and shoppers could be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. With many countries continuing to feel its impacts, we have revisited our expectations and outlook for the next six months.

With retailing across Europe evolving at a fast pace, stay up-to-date with our quarterly insight presentation looking at the latest economic data, retailer results and trends.

Latest IGD research conducted over the weekend 6-8 November has revealed that 52% of shoppers claimed to have stockpiled or bought extra recently. This has increased from last Wednesday and Thursday when less than half of shoppers (45%) claimed to have stockpiled.

See the latest industry news on Western Europe.