Although everyone who is traveling this summer is focused on forgetting the losses of the last year, the infection and mortality rates this fall will be the real measure of the season's success or shortcomings. Let's hope that months of vaccinations will put everyone in a better position.
As COVID-19 vaccine rollouts gain momentum, many countries are opening borders and letting people back into restaurants, shops and sports venues after more than a year of on-off lockdowns.
But the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant has led some countries to delay elements of their return to normal.
Here are some of their plans, in alphabetical order with the latest moves in each country listed first:
Authorities trying to stamp out an outbreak in Sydney of the Delta variant said on July 5 that the next two days would be “absolutely critical” in deciding whether to extend a stay-home order beyond July 9.
Britain aims to end COVID-related restrictions on July 19, allowing pubs, restaurants, nightclubs and other hospitality venues to fully reopen.
Non-essential retailers in England reopened on April 12 along with pubs and restaurants operating outdoors. Indoor hospitality, cinemas, theatres and sports halls reopened on May 17 with capacity restrictions. Britain also resumed international travel, with quarantine rules still in place for most arrivals.
Canadians and permanent residents who have received two vaccination doses exempted from quarantine when returning to the country from July 5.
From July 15, international travellers no longer need to present a negative PCR test and in-person classes resume for pre-school children to university students once staff are vaccinated.
On June 3, the country approved reopening most large events like concerts and sports matches with 25% capacity for cities where intensive care units occupancy rates are below 85%.
Nightclubs re-open from July 9.
Restriction measures were lifted on July 6 in the Landes southwestern region after a delay due to high numbers of infections with the Delta variant of COVID-19.
Masks have no longer been mandatory outside since June 16 and a national night-time curfew ended on June 20.
On June 9, cafes, bars, and restaurants fully reopened and sports halls, spas, swimming pools, and casinos resumed operation.
Shops, museums, cinemas and theatres reopened on May 19.
Germany said it aimed to lift all remaining coronavirus-linked social and economic curbs as soon as everyone has been offered a vaccine, which should happen during August.
General travel warnings for regions with a seven-day coronavirus incidence of below 200 were lifted starting July 1.
A rule which forced companies to allow working from home was lifted on June 30.
Since May 12, travellers have been able to enter the country without the need to quarantine, except those arriving from risk areas.
Those fully vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19 had quarantine rules eased on May 9, with a lifting of curfews and the obligation to provide a negative test result to visit a hairdresser, a zoo or to go shopping.
Remaining late night curfews and the requirement for self-testing for fully vaccinated workers were lifted from June 28 and the government allowed more people on organised beaches and up to 10 people to sit together in restaurants.
Mandatory wearing of face masks outdoors ended on June 24.
Iceland lifted all COVID-19 restrictions on June 26.
Federally-protected monuments opened to tourists on June 16.
On June 14, all New Delhi’s shops and malls re-opened, although bars, gyms, salons, cinemas and parks remained shut. Some businesses in Tamil Nadu, known for its automobile industry, were allowed to bring back 50% of employees and salons and liquor shops reopened. In Bengaluru, capital of Karnataka state, businesses were allowed to partially reopen, though strict night and weekend curfews remained in place.
From June 7, the state of Maharashtra allowed malls, movie theatres, restaurants and offices to open regularly in districts where the positivity rate has fallen below 5%.
The country imposed emergency measures from July 3 until July 20 to contain a spike in cases, tightening curbs on movement, office work, dining and air travel on Java and Bali islands.
Israel told its citizens on June 24 they must again wear masks indoors, 10 days after being allowed to ditch them, amid a sustained surge in coronavirus infections attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant.
The country reopened its borders to tourists on May 23. Under a pilot programme, it gave the green light to visits by 20 groups of between five and 30 tourists from countries including the United States, Britain and Germany. It hopes to let individual tourists in from July.
People were able to stop wearing masks outdoors from June 28 and a nightly curfew was scrapped on June 21.
Indoor service at restaurants resumed from June 1.
Italy lifted quarantine restrictions for travellers arriving from European and Schengen countries, as well as Britain and Israel, from May 15.
Coffee bars, restaurants, cinemas and theatres partially reopened in most regions on April 26.
Japan is considering barring all but VIP spectators from the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics on July 23, a newspaper said on July 6, ahead of talks with the International Olympic Committee on July 8. Organisers have already banned spectators from overseas.
Tokyo and three neighbouring prefectures are among areas under a ‘quasi’ state of emergency set to run through July 11 and the recent uptick in infections has officials leaning towards keeping restrictions in place, government sources have told Reuters.
That would cap spectators at 5,000. Olympics organisers have said spectators will be allowed up to half of venue capacity or a maximum of 10,000 provided the emergency restrictions are lifted. Some members of the ruling coalition are beginning to favour having no spectators at the Olympics, the sources said.
Most group size limits were lifted from June 26. People are not required to wear face masks anywhere except for public transport and airports, where distancing is not possible. Bars and restaurants have reopened.
Limits for concerts and sports events were raised to 50% of seats from June 26, with hotel capacity at up to 75%. From June 13, churches can be at up to 50% of capacity. People who have been vaccinated are not counted in the capacity limits.
Large indoor events with up to 50 people were allowed from May 28, a number that was tripled on June 6.
Poland reopened shopping centres, hotels, restaurants cinemas, theatres and concert halls in May. Indoor dining, indoor sports facilities and swimming pools reopened on May 28.
From May 28, Qatar allowed leisure, education centres, restaurants, gyms, pools and salons to operate at limited capacity, but bans on weddings, conferences and exhibitions remain in place.
Local and international sporting events can take place with fully vaccinated fans in open-space venues at 30% capacity.
The government had said it would relax social distancing measures in July, but case numbers shot up and authorities in Seoul and surrounding areas extended restrictions for another week to July 7.
From July 1, fully vaccinated overseas visitors can apply for exemptions from mandatory two-week quarantine if they are visiting family or travelling for the purpose of business, academic or public interest.
From July, masks are no longer required outdoors for those vaccinated with at least one shot.
From June 14, South Korea allowed up to 4,000 people to attend concerts and other cultural shows. Sports stadiums can operate at 30% to 50% capacity, depending on the districts.
Fresh outbreaks in July have prompted several regions, including Catalonia and Cantabria, to consider reimposing restrictions on nightlife and social events.
The country lifted a blanket obligation to wear masks outdoors on June 26.
From May 24, it allowed travel from low-risk non-EU countries without a negative PCR test. From June 7, vaccinated people from anywhere in the world could enter.
Curfews were lifted across most of Spain on May 9.
It will lift capacity restrictions in football and basketball games from the next season.
Sweden lifted curbs on restaurants and bar opening hours from July 1, and the number of seated spectators at outdoor stadiums will rise to 3,000 from 500.
Thailand said on July 4 it would allow some construction projects to resume in its capital and surrounding provinces but most sites and workers’ camps would remain closed due to the country’s biggest coronavirus outbreak to date.
A tourism pilot began on July 1 on the country’s most popular island, Phuket. On June 16, the country had said it aimed to fully reopen to visitors within 120 days.
Sunday lockdowns and weekday curfews, as well as public transport restrictions, were lifted on July 1, with music events, including concerts, allowed until midnight.
The United States is still considering when to lift its COVID-19 travel restrictions for international visitors, but does not intend to ultimately require coronavirus vaccinations for entry, the White House said on June 30.
On June 15, the state of New York lifted all state-mandated restrictions, including capacity limits of 50% for retailers and 33% for gyms. Mitigation measures are still required in public transit and healthcare settings.
California, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey and Connecticut have also lifted most emergency measures.
On May 3, New York City allowed drinking at an indoor bar for the first time in months.
New York City and Los Angeles plan to fully reopen schools from September.
(Compiled by Vladimir Sadykov, Dagmarah Mackos and Federica Urso; Editing by Milla Nissi and Philippa Fletcher)
Photo credit: Travelers at London's Paddington Station. Many restrictions will need in England in late July, but quarantine for many international travelers will likely continue. Skift