Children’s Neighbourhoods Scotland, Community engagement

Emerging from lockdown: Perspectives on ‘easing’ from 5 countries

This summary of lockdown easing will be updated weekly. Please sign up for our mailing list here if you would like to be notified when updates are published.

The past few months have brought significant and challenging shifts in how people are living day-to-day in Scotland, and across the globe. From the initial pressures and panic, to new systems being put in place to deal with the nationwide lockdown, there has been a collective effort to support each other through these unprecedented times.

While the research team at Children’s Neighbourhoods Scotland have been busy capturing the experiences of different organisations through this time, our Local Coordinators have been keeping up to date with developments in their areas and offering support to local organisations and schools.

One of the key issues for our Local Coordinators, however, is the question of what happens next. How do we continue to support the communities we are working in?

Emerging from Lockdown

On 21 May the Scottish Government published a route map out of lockdown structured in four phases. Our team have been working together to explore different possibilities of how to support communities through the uncertainties of the coming weeks and months.

With so many unknowns in front of us, it has been key to look at examples from other similar countries in order to consider what might happen in Scotland, and how we can best respond to the new normal of post-lockdown life. In the process of gathering this information, we felt that it would be useful to collate the different measures countries have taken as they begin to move forward from lockdown. 

Our summary focuses on France, Norway, New Zealand, Germany and Italy – in order to give a varied picture across Western nations with differing infection and mortality rates. This was gathered on 2 June 2020. 

For a week-by-week account of how each country has adapted and eased their lockdown restrictions, including Scotland, you can download more information here [PDF: 211KB].


  • Schools have been allowed to reopen for children and young people aged up to 15. France’s lycées, which provide education for 15-18 year olds, will begin to reopen with restricted class sizes.
  • Socialising in public is permitted in groups of 10 or less. There is currently no upper limit on gatherings in people’s homes. 
  • Trips of more than 100km are now permitted.
  • Businesses are now allowed to open including restaurants, bars and cafes (although some are open for takeaway). Working from home will continue to be encouraged where possible.
  • The ban on sporting and cultural events will remain in place, with events for over 5000 people prohibited until at least September 2020. 


  • Schools and kindergartens are now open again.
  • Universities and colleges reopened on 27 April.
  • Travelling to holiday homes (common in Norway) is now permitted.
  • Gatherings of 20 people are permitted indoors, and public gatherings of up to 50 people are now allowed. Larger gatherings are expected to be permitted again from mid-June.
  • Some businesses, including hairdressers, have reopened but working from home is still encouraged where possible. Bars are now allowed to reopen.
  • Professional sports are allowed to restart, and football fixtures will resume on 16 June.

New Zealand

  • Schools and Early Childhood Education centres have now reopened.
  • People can reconnect with friends and family, go shopping, or travel domestically, but should follow public health guidance.
  • Gatherings of up to 100 people are allowed for indoor or outdoor gatherings.
  • Businesses can open to the public if following public health guidance including physical distancing and record keeping. Alternative ways of working are encouraged where possible. 
  • Sport and recreation activities are allowed, subject to conditions on gatherings, contact tracing, and – where practical – physical distancing.
  • Hospitality businesses must keep groups of customers separated, seated, and served by a single person. Bars and clubs have now been allowed to reopen with physical distancing measures in place.


  • Schools have been partially reopened for young children and those taking exams; all pupils will be allowed to return to class gradually during the summer term. 
  • Social distancing remains largely in place, although people from two different households are now allowed to meet.
  • Museums, exhibitions, memorials, zoos and botanical gardens in Germany can reopen in Germany, provided they can fulfil social distancing and hygiene requirements. 
  • Shops and cafes can reopen as long as social distancing can be maintained. 
  • Football matches have been allowed to recommence behind closed doors.
  • Large public gatherings including religious services will remain banned until 31 August.  


  • Schools remain closed at this time.
  • Travelling to see relatives is now permitted within regions, with travel between regions allowed from 3 June. 
  • Large family gatherings remain banned, as does meeting friends. Funerals are now allowed with a maximum of 15 people, ideally outdoors.
  • Construction, manufacturing, wholesale and real estate companies have now reopened, which means more people are returning to work. 
  • Restaurants, bars, cafes, hairdressers and shops have now been allowed to reopen in Italy, providing social distancing is enforced. 


  • Schools are expected to reopen on 11 August.
  • Travelling short distances for work and leisure activities is now allowed, although working from home is the default position.
  • People are now permitted to meet with one other household outdoors, and with physical distancing in place.
  • Unlimited outdoor exercise is now permitted within one’s local area. People are advised to travel no more than 5 miles from home.
  • Restaurants, bars and cafes are closed. Takeaway restaurants can continue to operate.

As a global community, we have become increasingly acclimatised to rapidly evolving news cycles and to sudden shifts to how we live our lives. The restrictions and rules above, then, will undoubtedly change and adapt in the coming weeks, as will our plans for the future.

In the coming months, we will be using examples from other countries, alongside information from our own government and our COVID-19 research to explore how we can work together to support children, young people and families.

Exploring local responses to COVID-19

We are undertaking a new piece of research to document responses to, and the impact of, COVID-19 on children and families.

Read more about this new research project.

For emerging insights from the research to date, please see the briefing documents in our Resources section.


Leave a Reply