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Lockdown Update: Scandinavia, Europe and the US

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As the world has been experiencing lockdowns this year due to COVID-19, every country around the globe has been dealing with the situation differently.

Insider knowledge from various markets about the ins and outs of the current lockdown status is useful information to have to keep international businesses running as smoothly as possible.

What are office workflows like? Where do you have to wear a mask? 

How can you best get in touch with the press? 

Which markets are still in a strict phase of lockdown and which are coming through it?

These questions will all be answered below for markets in Scandinavia, Europe, and the US – along with a quote from a fashion journalist. The Lifestyle Team at VOCAST is made up of native researchers, with specific knowledge about what is happening across international markets.

Here is an update on the lockdown status of our 10 markets, updated as of 01.12.2020

Lifestyle industry updates

Lifestyle industry updates from 10 markets – Denmark to France, Italy to the US.

Do you want to know what office regulations are like or what the most efficient ways to get in touch with editors and journalists are right now? Are you looking to contact buyers and want to know the retail status of their market? These questions are answered for you below.

Each country has been given a code: dark grey for full-lockdown, light grey for strict rules, green for relaxed regulations

Navigate your way through these updates by clicking on the arrows or the dots: 1. Denmark 2. Sweden 3. Norway 4. France 5. Italy 6. Germany 7. The Netherlands 8. Belgium 9. The UK 10. The US

Denmark's December Update

Workflow & office regulations:

The evolution of the Covid-19 in Denmark was positive and the lifestyle industry was able to work closely to their normal routines with few regulations. In October Denmark faced some highly increasing numbers of people infected by Covid-19, which led to the government implementing further restrictions.

The numbers aren’t increasing as drastically anymore, but they are still high – so all workplaces are encouraged to have their employees work from home to the best possible extend. Because gatherings still are limited to a capacity of 10 people, the lifestyle industry might face some harder times again where it will be difficult or impossible to work at full capacity.

Retail status:

All non-essential stores, department stores, and shopping malls are still open, with the requirement of using face masks while in-store. Distance limitation is mandatory to ensure social distancing between customers and dispensers with hand sanitizer are placed at all entrances.

Christmas shopping will definitely be different this year and a lot of shopping will probably happen online. But the Danes still have the option to go on their annual Christmas shopping in the decorated and enlightened streets of Copenhagen.

Sweden's December Update

Workflow & office regulations:

Sweden has entered the same level of Covid-19 cases as in April, and the Prime minister has spoken to the nation several times in the last month to highlight the seriousness of the situation.

All offices, that have the possibility to, are working from home. From checking in with offices in Stockholm, we found out that several companies have given their employees Friday off. So keep this in mind when contacting agencies, brands, and editors. 

Retail status:

People are encouraged to do all their shopping online and the physical stores have seen a big decrease in visitors. Smaller stores with a creative mind have started offering shopping and delivery possibilities outside the four walls of the store and are encouraging customers to still shop, but do so from a distance. We will see what the result of this will be after the big commercial season that is December.

Norway's December Update

Workflow & office regulations:

Anyone able to work from home is doing so now in Norway. People are once again getting furloughed, but luckily businesses are more resilient and prepared than during the spring. Many work places are determined for their employees to work from home until the traditional flu season is over. Public transportation is limited by all.

Retail status:

Stores are the one line of business that is still allowed to stay open as an effort not to halt the economy completely. The government has asked everyone to start their Christmas shopping early and once again a strong digital presence seems to be the winning ticket.

France's December Update

The French government has set new lockdown measures starting October 30th. Those measures have been slightly eased on the 28th of November. The lockdown is scheduled to be lifted on December 15th if, by that time, there are less than 5000 contaminations per day.

Workflow & office regulations:

Working from home is mandatory whenever possible to reduce the number of people in the workplace. For those who can’t work from home, alternating days between home and the workplace must be encouraged.

As a result, receptionists in most publishing houses are no longer picking up the phone although some might still be reachable. Reaching out by email is preferable, as most journalists are back to working from home.

Influencers are responsive. However, given the current situation in France with the drastic increase in the number of cases and recent tensions, we advise you to act and communicate carefully with French contacts and be extremely mindful.

Retail status:

Non-essential shops were allowed to open again on November 28th after long negotiations between the French government and shop representatives. However, stricter hygiene guidelines are now in effect: bigger stores will need to count the number of clients to ensure enough distance and commit to the new capacity rule and stores can also stay open until 21:00.

Black Friday has been exceptionally postponed by a week to December 4th to help closed down shops prepare for the event.

Italy's December Update

Workflow & office regulations:

Covid-19 is back in Italy with full force. The number of cases and the death rates have however reached a plateau, but Italy is still mobilized and partly in lockdown. The Italian government has implemented a color-coded zone system for local restrictions, where regions marked as “yellow” have the least tough measurements, “orange” being the middle way, and “red” implying complete lockdown.

Luckily, key regions that previously were marked with “red”, such as Lombardia and Piemonte, have now been labeled orange, going out of lockdown meaning that shops and bars can open up again. Editors continue to work from home and influencers are being very responsive and open for collaborations.

Retail status:

Regional restrictions may have shops and bars closing completely or at earlier hours and masks are mandatory at all times. However, to enable Italian Christmas celebration, some restrictions are expected to be lifted and shops are expected to be able to conduct normal sales for the Christmas shopping.

The delayed sales seasons have put a lot of pressure on the fashion industry and many companies are going through different degrees of the financial crisis.

Germany's December Update

Workflow & office regulations:

Workflow and office regulations are starting to change again. With the rise in Covid-19 numbers, offices are encouraged to work from home to contact to a minimum, since the “Lockdown-Light” was introduced on November 1st and has been extended until December 20th. Journalists and Editors can still be contacted via email.

Retail status:

Since May, all shops and retail stores have been open. However, hygienic requirements must be followed and rules have gotten more strict again. Access to shops must be controlled, queues avoided, face masks must be worn and a maximum number of people (customers and staff) must be specified in the area. Not more than one customer per 10 square meters is allowed within a store.

Restaurants, Cafés, Bars, Gyms, Theatres, Beauty salons etc. have had to close again and remain closed until December 20th, with potential of extension.

The Netherlands's December Update

Workflow & office regulations:

In The Netherlands, the advice is to work from home unless it’s absolutely impossible. In the case of an infection, the whole workplace can be shut down for 14 days. This means that some journalists are responsive and answering their emails while others are less available due to filled mailboxes. Influencers and their agencies are still very responsive.

Retail status:

All stores are open until 20:00, supermarkets can stay open longer and social distancing measures of 1.5 m are still required to keep safety. Most events are prohibited, though food markets, fairs, congresses, demonstrations, and paid football games are allowed again. Museums, cinemas, and theatres have also reopened. Cafes, bars, and restaurants remain closed, and it’s prohibited to sell, buy, or carry alcohol between 20:00 and 7:00.

Belgium's December Update

Belgium announced a nation-wide lockdown starting from November 2nd until at least December 13th.

Workflow & office regulations:

Working from home is now absolutely mandatory. When not possible, keeping a social distance of 1.5 meters is required between colleagues. Most journalists have not stopped working from home since the first lockdown in spring, their response time may vary. However, influencers are still very quick to reply.

Retail status:

Non-essential stores are now allowed to open too, apart from supermarkets, bakeries, and pharmacies which were already open. Shopping has to happen individually and within 30 minutes. Flea markets and Christmas markets are shut down. Only market stalls offering essentials like food are allowed to open. Museums and swimming pools can reopen.

Bars, coffee shops, and restaurants remain closed. There’s a nationwide curfew from midnight to 5:00. In all regions, the basics of wearing a mask and keeping 1.5m social distance remain mandatory.

The UK's December Update

England has been in a nationwide lockdown throughout November – all other UK nations (Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland) were exempt from this full lockdown, but all had tight restrictions in place. The nationwide lockdown has now ended, however many regions, such as London, remain in a lockdown of some form.

Workflow & office regulations:

Though the second full lockdown of 2020 is over in the UK, employees will remain working from home until the end of this year at least. Some workplaces are permitted to be open but this is highly irregular within the lifestyle industry. It is therefore most efficient to contact editors and journalists via email, as none will be in the office and may not have access to a work phone number or the reception desk.

Retail status:

All retail stores were closed throughout England in November and many will continue to be through December. Only essential shops, supermarkets, and drugstores will be open. Retailers in the rest of the UK have social distancing regulations and masks must be worn.

The US's December Update

Workflow & office regulations:

As the US never went into full lockdown, different states, cities, and companies have their own policies. In general, it is best to assume that employees in the American lifestyle industry are working from home.

Industry professionals such as the press are reachable through email and sometimes on their personal phones, however, there can sometimes be delays due to teams working remotely, different publishing houses have varying rules for their employees.

Retail status:

As different states have imposed different lockdown rules and regulations, it depends on the area if high street retailers are open or not. In some states, and then again in some stores, face masks should be worn and hand sanitizers are available upon entrances and exits.

Local insight

Local insight into our 10 markets comes straight from the experiences and knowledge of our native lifestyle and market researchers.

Are you planning to travel for work, and want to know what the hygiene or quarantine regulations will be upon your arrival? How social will you be able to be during your stay? These questions are answered for you below.

Each country has been given a code: dark grey for full-lockdown, light grey for strict rules, green for relaxed regulations

Navigate your way through these updates by clicking on the arrows or the dots: 1. Denmark 2. Sweden 3. Norway 4. France 5. Italy 6. Germany 7. The Netherlands 8. Belgium 9. The UK 10. The US

Denmark's December Update

Travel corridors:

Danish citizens are still being dissuaded from all unnecessary travels. In correlation to the increasing numbers of people infected by Covid-19 in Denmark, more countries have been added to the “quarantine list” and border control has been increased when entering Denmark.

People resident in high-risk countries now have to present proof of a negative Covid-19 test before entering, among these countries we find France, Italy & Austria.

General hygiene & social activities:

Face masks are still mandatory in all indoor places with public access and gatherings are still at a maximum capacity of 10 people. The government is still appealing to all unnecessary gatherings with a primary social agenda to be canceled. Furthermore, bars, cafés, and restaurants still have to close by 22:00 every night. Nightclubs and discos are still temporarily closed until further notice.

Sweden's December Update

Travel corridors:

The recommendation against all unnecessary traveling is still in place regarding non-EU citizens until 31st of January 2021. To read up on all the exceptions check the Swedish Foreign Ministry’s website. On Thursday in week 49, the Public Health Authority will give their travel restrictions for the upcoming holiday season

General hygiene & social activities:

On November 20th the prime minister Stefan Löfvén highly recommended and encouraged all cultural events, religious gatherings, and all public meetings to cancel. A limit of eight people at social gatherings was put in place and no alcohol is served after 22:00. These restrictions run until February 28th in 2021.

Norway's December Update

Travel corridors:

All international travel is discouraged and most countries, including all European destinations, are by Norwegian standards marked “red”, meaning it is impossible to travel without being mandatory quarantined for 10 days upon return.

General hygiene & social activities:

No more than 5 people are allowed to meet in private homes, outside the people you live with/your cohort. In the cities, alcohol is no longer being served in bars and restaurants. Masks are a requirement when traveling with public transportation.

France's December Update

Travel corridors:

Traveling in France is no longer permitted. You may only leave your home with an exemption certificate for urgent family or professional reasons and urgent medical or juristic appointments.

Traveling across the European Union member states is still allowed but all travelers must provide a negative test made 72 hours before they arrived in France, or take a test at the airport after the arrival. Documents justifying the traveling must also be submitted. External borders with countries outside the EU are still closed off.

General hygiene & social activities:

French people are now allowed to go out for 3 hours within a radius of 20km (instead of 1 hour and 1km). Groups of more than 6 people in public places are forbidden and student parties are strictly prohibited.

In enclosed public spaces you must wear a mask at all times. Local authorities may decide further restrictions. In some cities (including Paris) it may be required to wear a mask outside as well. Those who do not comply will be fined 135€ while repeated offends could get you to find up to 3750€.

Italy's December Update

Travel corridors:

Travel between regions is not advised, and traveling out of a red zone is not permitted unless special reasons and certifications are presented. Moreover, all foreigners or returning Italians have to quarantine when touching the Italian base.

Regional color-labeled zones mean that Italians travel and foreigners are free to enter and travel, and body temperatures can be measured by the borders, restaurants, bars, and at airports. Public transport is limited and Italians practice social distance.

General hygiene & social activities:

In light of the upcoming Christmas season, regions are expected to change color code quickly, based on the number of cases and deaths. Masks are mandatory in in-door public spaces, but many people in the larger cities put masks on as they step outside.

Germany's December Update

Travel corridors:

Denmark has been named a high-risk zone for Germany amongst many other countries, which means compulsory self-quarantining for 14 days when traveling to Germany from Copenhagen, as well as other risk zones. When returning from a risk area it is also compulsory to take a Covid-19 test at the airport, which is no longer free of charge. Covid Testing is priced at around 150€, depending on location. Going against quarantine guidelines can result in a fine or even a prison sentence.

When traveling to Germany, only essential trips will be allowed. Hotels etc. are only allowed to house guests traveling for a valid reason, not tourists.

General hygiene & social activities:

The contact restrictions in Germany have increased. Every state is still responsible for the implementation of federal regulations, which can slightly differ from each other. Hygienic regulations, such as a 1.5-meter distance and wearing masks in public areas, still apply in all states.

The public still has to wear masks in public places, including public transport, shops, and stores. It is also mandatory to wear a mask outside, when in certain busy “risk zones” in the larger cities. Refusal to wear masks can result in a fine of 50€ upwards. When meeting with people you are allowed to be in a maximum of two different households and be a maximum of 5 people in total.

The Netherlands's December Update

Travel corridors:

Travel is strongly discouraged until at least mid-January. The Netherlands uses a color-coded map that gets updated regularly to indicate positive (yellow) and negative (orange) travel advice. People returning to or entering the Netherlands from orange zones need to get tested and enter a 10-day quarantine at home.

People can apply for their loved ones from other countries to enter the Netherlands for a period of a maximum of 90 days.

General hygiene & social activities:

The Netherlands is now in a partial lockdown. It is advised to avoid travel as much as possible. It is mandatory to wear a face mask on public transport and in indoor public spaces. There’s a limit of 3 house guests a day. The maximum indoor capacity is 30 people with a 1.5-meter social distance between guests, and indoors as well as outdoors, there’s a maximum of 4 people from different households per individual group.

Belgium's December Update

Travel corridors:

Couples who have been separated because they live in different countries will be allowed to cross the border if they can prove their relationship is sustainable. People returning to or entering Belgium after being abroad for more than 48 hours need to fill out the Passenger Locator Form.

Belgium uses color-codes to indicate travel advice to countries and regions. Anyone returning from a red zone needs to get tested and stay in quarantine. People returning from an orange zone are advised to do the same. Border controls will be put in place to ensure people fill out the Passenger Locator Form and adhere to the quarantine rules.

General hygiene & social activities:

It is mandatory to wear a mask in indoor public places, on public transport, and in outdoor crowded places where social distancing rules cannot be maintained. People are allowed to move around freely, though it is advised to avoid unnecessary travel. Only one close contact is allowed per household.

Outdoors, there’s a limit of 4 people per group. Christmas and New Year’s can only be celebrated within the household. Singles are allowed to invite 2 close contacts for their mental wellbeing.

The UK's December Update

Travel corridors:

The UK is technically open to some countries by travel corridors, however, if you are traveling to England you must be aware that, until December 15, you will have to be in isolation upon arrival. From then on you can leave isolation if you get a negative test.

When entering any country in the UK, every person must complete a track-and-trace form provided by the government which acts as a legal declaration of your stay in the country.

General hygiene & social activities:

As well as an emphasis on social distancing and hygiene regulations, it is mandatory to wear face masks on public transport, in stores, and all indoor public spaces in the UK.

The new tier system in England means that very few cultural, hospitality, and free-time activities will be open. Regions such as London have been placed into Tier 2 – meaning that social interactions are limited and households cannot mix.

The US's December Lockdown

Travel corridors:

US residents can travel internationally to some countries, however, many countries do not advise their own residents to travel to the US and visa versa. As the regulations are also different from state to state within the US, it is important to check whether or not you are eligible for entry to the States and what the restrictions will be for you upon arrival.

General hygiene & social activities:

The US never imposed a nationwide lockdown and social distancing, general hygiene precautions, and face mask regulations vary throughout the whole country. With high rates of infection and unemployment, nationwide protests, natural disasters, and the election last month, it has been a trying year for many in the US and it is important to be patient and sensitive when in contact with individuals in the American market.

In the words of a journalist…

VOCAST’s Benelux Lifestyle Researcher spoke to a journalist from Knack Weekend Magazine about what life in the Belgian publishing industry has been like since lockdown and how their work has changed.

Lotte Philipsen, Lifestyle and Fashion Journalist at Knack Weekend

“Work has pretty much turned into a desk job. Research, interviews, finding inspiration: it all happens from home. I’ve done a ‘real’ interview once since, but most interviews happen on the phone, Zoom or Skype. Going out for events or reports has become a rare thing – I haven’t been on one. It does happen, but always on a very small scale, mostly outdoors, with mouth masks when required – and of course, social distancing. When it comes to big international events, I don’t believe there are (m)any Belgian journalists planning on going to fashion weeks right now, or in any case, no full weeks.”
 

 

VOCAST - the Brand Sharing Platform

This blog post was a collaborative effort written by our in-house team of curators, who are experts in identifying relevant influencers, as well as building email lists of important contacts for our fashion and home & interior brands.

 

 

 

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