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 9 July 2020. Please note that, as many countries have now transitioned almost fully out of lockdown, this blog will no longer be updated on a weekly basis, but will remain here on our website for reference.

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].


As of 15 June, all of mainland France is now in a so-called ‘green zone’, where restrictions can ease faster.

  • Schools will reopen without class restrictions for children and young people aged up to 15 from 22 June. 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.
  • Bars and cafes can now open inside and outside areas. Beaches have begun to reopen, and cinemas reopened on 22 June.
  • 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 in the coming weeks.
  • 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. Major events remain banned until 1 September 2020.

New Zealand

On 8 June at 11:59pm, New Zealand lifted all remaining lockdown measures.

  • Schools and Early Childhood Education centres have now reopened.
  • Self-isolation and quarantine required.
  • No restrictions on personal movement but people are encouraged to maintain a record of where they have been.
  • No restrictions on gatherings but organisers encouraged to maintain records to enable contact tracing.
  • No restrictions on domestic transport – avoid public transport for travel if you are sick.
  • No restrictions on workplaces or services but they are encouraged to maintain records to enable contact tracing.


  • 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 will remain largely in place until at least 29 June, 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 will not reopen until 1 September 2020.
  • Travelling to see relatives is now permitted within regions, with travel between regions now allowed.
  • Large family gatherings remain banned, and social distancing of 1 metre must be maintained when meeting anyone from outside your household. 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. Theatres and cinemas reopened on 15 June with a limit of 200 people per venue. Nightclubs will reopen on 14 July 2020.


On 10 July 2020, Scotland will enter Phase 3 of lockdown easing.

  • Schools are expected to reopen on 11 August, potentially at full capacity and without social distancing in classes.
  • Travelling short distances for work and leisure activities is now allowed, although working from home is still encouraged where possible.
  • In Phase 3, people are permitted to meet with five other households outdoors, and 2 other households indoors (although this should involve no more than 15 people in total). Adults who live alone are now permitted to form a ‘bubble’ with one other household.
  • Restaurants, bars and cafes will reopen on 15 July 2020. Takeaway restaurants can continue to operate. Non-essential shops can reopen from 29 June if they have an outdoor entrance/exit.

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.


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