Coronavirus update: Europeans and Americans soak up the sun as authorities struggle to enforce social distancing
Europeans and Americans soaked up the sun where they could, taking advantage of the first holiday weekend since coronavirus restrictions were eased, while European governments grappled with how and when to safely let in foreign travellers to salvage the vital summer tourist season.
This story will be regularly updated throughout Monday.
Monday’s key moments:
Europeans flock to the beach, succumbing to the allure of summer
Europeans have soaked up plenty of sun where they could over the weekend, as governments have grappled with how and when to safely let in foreign travellers to salvage the vital summer tourist season.
Across Europe, a mishmash of travel restrictions appears to be on the horizon, often depending on where travellers live and what passports they carry.
Germany, France and other European countries aim to open their borders for European travel in mid-June but it isn’t clear when intercontinental travel will resume.
Spain, one of the worst-hit countries in the pandemic and also one of the world’s top destinations for international travellers, says it won’t reopen for foreign tourists until July.
In Germany, domestic tourists will be allowed to return Monday to Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania in the northeast — home to the country’s Baltic Sea coast — and to hotels in Berlin, the popular capital.
The La Grande-Motte resort beach in France has come up with a way to control its usual weekend crowds — by introducing a booking system.
Beachgoers must pre-book their 8-metre-square patch of sand online, which has been roped off to keep them a safe distance from others. Reservations are free but required, and there is already a two-day waiting list.
In Paris, where all city parks remain closed, locals soaked up the sun along the embankments of the Seine River and lounged on ledges outside the Tuileries Gardens.
In some spots, people sat safely spaced apart. Elsewhere, groups of maskless teens crowded together, shrugging off social distancing rules.
Americans celebrate Memorial Day weekend
Americans excited about what for many was their first big break from coronavirus shutdowns flocked to beaches and outdoor areas over the weekend.
While the Memorial Day holiday that honours the US military dead is on Monday, the weekend leading up to it marks the unofficial start of summer, with Americans traditionally travelling to beaches, gathering at backyard barbecues and unfurling picnic blankets in parks.
Among those soaking in the sun and enjoying a bit of travel on Saturday was President Donald Trump, who was seen golfing at his Trump National Golf Club in northern Virginia, his first golf outing since the White House declared a national emergency over the coronavirus outbreak in March.
Surprise openings of some outdoor sites thrilled Americans cooped up at home by pandemic lockdown rules.
Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota welcomed visitors again, earlier than expected.
The US death toll from COVID-19 continues to rise and is expected to surpass 100,000 in the coming days, the highest number of any country.
Eighth Premier League player tests positive
Since players returned to limited group training earlier this week, eight positive tests for the virus have been confirmed at England’s top football clubs.
Six individuals, including Watford defender Adrian Mariappa and Burnley assistant manager Ian Woan, were positive in the first round of testing on May 17-18.
A Bournemouth player was one of two people working for Premier League clubs who tested positive for COVID-19 following a second batch of testing
No matches have been played in the Premier League since March, but the UK Government has given the go-ahead for elite sport to resume from June 1.
The Premier League’s Project Restart envisages a return to competitive action in June, although no date has been fixed.
Similarly, the Spanish La Liga competition has been given the green light by Spanish authorities to return to action from June 8.
All organised soccer in Spain was provisionally suspended on March 12, although clubs in the top two divisions have since returned to group training.
La Liga has yet to officially confirm a date on which it will resume, although its president Javier Tebas had said previously he hoped the season could do so from June 12.
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