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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. Hygiene regulations, social distancing, working from home, and bans on travel have been common across many markets, but every country has different regulations from their neighbor.

Therefore, 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 01/09/2020.

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 – 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. Netherlands 8. Belgium 9. UK 10. US

Denmark

Workflow & office regulations:

Private offices are open and employees within the lifestyle sector are back to work. Though the press has been highly affected by this pandemic, they are now almost back to work and running daily tasks close to normal with photoshoots and events, of course, limited to the restrictions made by the government. Copenhagen Fashion Week took place from the 9th to 12th of August, it was the first physical Fashion Week post-COVID-19.

Retail status:

All non-essential stores, department stores, and shopping malls are opened again. Distance limitation is mandatory to ensure social distancing between customers and dispensers with hand sanitizer are placed at all entrances. It may also be mandatory to use masks in stores and elsewhere in public where many people are gathered in the near future.

Sweden

Workflow & office regulations:

Six months after most of the world lock-downed, Sweden is still doing business as usual. However, some restrictions are still put in place: offices are still encouraged to work from home and a limit of 50 people is allowed in social settings. When reaching out to Swedish contacts think about mentioning the lovely summer we just had, but that it’s nice to come back to structure and routine. Be friendly and not irritated over the fact that the Swedish government has not put any further restrictions in place. Grab ahold of the opportunity that editors are on their emails and phones much more than before, excited for new collaboration opportunities. Focus on products and messages that can work in a local, home, and outdoor context with Scandinavian autumn in mind.

Retail status:

Retail is rolling with the end of season sales, but it is struggling to keep numbers green, and employees are continuously furloughed. Opening hours for shops are slowly going back to normal.

Norway

Workflow & office regulations:

Early fall is usually a very busy time for press contacts in the lifestyle segment, but this year we can see a dramatic decrease in their activity. Some magazines are for instance switching to fewer, bigger publications in order to work more with both content and ad-sales, as businesses are more careful about spending their ad budgets. The long-term consequences are still unbeknown to us but one thing is for sure and that is that nothing is as it once was.

Retail status:

At the beginning of the pandemic, industry insiders predicted the greatest discount summer ever seen. This turned out to be true, but thankfully not as extreme as some may have feared. The increased issues related to the fulfillment of new orders hit many retailers and this slowed the discount rate. Many brands have been forced to think anew on how to fill stores with inspirational content/merchandise and one trend that has clearly taken is the rise of curated vintage selection as well as different DIY-packages.

France

Workflow & office regulations:

The French holiday period is now over and you can expect most press contacts to be back to work. Receptionists in most publishing houses are picking up the phone. Reaching out by e-mail is still preferable though you can now directly call journalists, some might be still working from home. Influencers are always responsive. Starting September the use of masks will be mandatory for all indoor workplaces which have meeting rooms and open-plan offices. 

Retail status:

All stores and shopping malls are open again but wearing a mask is mandatory upon entry into stores and any public closed areas while hand sanitizer dispensers are still made available at each entrance. The drop in-store visits have drastically decreased in comparison to the start of the 2019 summer sales. Parisian stores which usually count on tourism to drive big sales are struggling. Many businesses are counting on the imminent start of the school year to generate profit but still dreading potential lockdowns measures.

Italy

Workflow & office regulations:

Public offices are open, with restrictions involving distance, masks, and sanitary supplies. Other offices, however, need to be able to fulfill the same measurements as public ones to be kept open. Italians are expected to be back from vacation by the first week of September, most probably offices will continue to be closed and people will work from home this fall. Publishing houses are still closed in general, and only a handful of editors have started to work from the office a couple of times a week. It is reasonable to expect that most editors will continue working from home this fall, which means that journalists will not be answering their work phones but are reachable via email. Influencers are very responsive. When contacting the Italian press, keep in mind that many Italians still haven’t regained the pace of normal life and many have been personally affected by Covid-19 in different ways. Signs of solidarity in relation to the pandemic is generally highly appreciated, especially in business-related matters. Most Italians will be back on vacation this week, and so also journalists.

Retail status:

Shops, hairdressers, and bars have to a large extent gone back to normal routines and opening hours although masks are required everywhere.

Germany

Workflow & office regulations:

Journalists and editors are starting to be back in their offices more and more and everyone is starting to come back from their summer vacation. Though some people are still working from home part-time, all editorial offices are still reachable. The best way to reach editors currently is via email, but working hours are back to normal. Photoshoots and magazine productions in studios are ongoing and back to normal, with smaller teams and following official regulations and with everyone wearing face masks.

Retail status:

Since May, all shops and retail stores have been open. However, hygienic requirements must still be followed. 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. Valid from the 1st of July until the end of this year, the German government has decided to decrease the VAT on products and goods from the usual 19% to 16%. The goal is to increase sales and boost the German economy, which has been hit by the pandemic in the last months.

Netherlands

Workflow & office regulations:

In The Netherlands, the advice is to work from home whenever possible. This means that some journalists are responsive and answering their emails while others are less available due to filled mailboxes.

Retail status:

Stores are open and social distancing measures of 1.5 m are still required to keep safety. Non-essential stores and shopping malls are all open, which was already the case as The Netherlands hasn’t enforced any official lockdown.

Belgium

Workflow & office regulations:

Working from home is strongly encouraged again. Keeping a social distance of 1.5 meters is required between colleagues if working remotely is not an option. Most journalists are still working from home, their response time may vary. However, influencers are still very quick to reply.

Retail status:

Stores and markets are open again, following guidelines on how to do this safely. Wearing a mask and keeping a 1.5m social distance is mandatory. You can only go shopping alone or with one other person (unless they are minors from the same household or dependent people).

UK

Workflow & office regulations:

Although offices and other workplaces are allowed to open, many workplaces continue to work from home if they cannot upkeep the safety policies in place. Employees in the British lifestyle industry are eggar to start getting back to work as normal if possible, and major publishing houses such as Hearst and Conde Nast are beginning to work in the office again. However, this will be a gradual process as it is not possible for all employees to start going back to the office at once. Therefore, it is more efficient to contact editors and journalists via email.

Retail status:

The majority of high street retailers are now open and are back in business. Depending on the size of the store, only a few people may be inside at once and this is regulated by retail staff. Face masks are now mandatory in all stores and hand sanitizers are present in entrances and exits.

US

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 for people and businesses to follow, the majority of the country’s non-essential businesses are relatively open, but regulations are subject to change. 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 – 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. Netherlands 8. Belgium 9. UK 10. US

Denmark

Travel corridors:

Denmark is open for tourists and the requirement for staying for at least 6 nights in Denmark is now removed. However, in continuation of the increase in infection globally, travel advice has been changed by the Foreign Ministry. This means that the danish citizens are being dissuaded from all unnecessary travels to a number of countries, including several European countries.

General hygiene & social activities:

Due to the increase in infection globally and in Denmark, wearing face masks on public transport is mandatory for anyone 12 years of age and over. The demand for masks comes after several weeks of rising infection rates in Denmark. Therefore, gatherings are still limited to 100 people until October 31st. Furthermore, bars, cafés, and restaurants are now allowed to stay open until 2 am, (as long as they don’t receive new guests after 11 pm), nevertheless, nightclubs and discos are still temporarily closed until October 31st.

Sweden

Travel corridors:

After a summer full of staycations and “hemester”, Sweden has seen a sharp drop in confirmed coronavirus cases. The recommendation against all unnecessary traveling is still in place regarding countries marked red on Sweden’s Foreign Ministry’s website, these countries include the U.K (until Sept 9th) and the U.S (until Nov 15th) among others.

General hygiene & social activities:

A limit of 50 people at social gatherings is still in place which means that weddings, graduation parties, and events are asked to keep this restriction in mind.

Norway

Travel corridors:

After 6 weeks of relaxed travel restrictions to and from Norway following the first wave of Coronavirus, the boarders have yet again closed for leisurely travel. This comes as no shock to a lot of people who were hesitant about the ease of mandatory quarantining. While the infection rate among the population is still very low, in the range 20-80 new identified cases per day, August marked the beginning of a potential second wave in Norway.

 
General hygiene & social activities:
 
At the moment it is recommended but not mandatory in Norway to use face masks in public. However, on public transport in major cities, it is widely used. Social gatherings are still limited to 200 people and it is expected that this will be maintained through October.

France

Travel corridors:

Traveling within France is permitted, however, people currently living in the highly infected zones are subject to travel limitations and can’t travel around France as freely. Traveling across the European Union is also allowed but it’s up to each individual to check if any quarantine measures are in place in the countries they’re traveling to.

General hygiene & social activities:

As of July 20th, anyone 11 years of age and over must wear a mask in enclosed public spaces, anyone going against this rule will be fined €135. Masks are now mandatory in all public spaces in 20 red zone departments (where the virus is spreading really fast) which includes cities such as Paris, Marseille, and Toulouse. The French government is currently not considering having a national lockdown despite the big increase in contamination since May. However, partial lockdowns might be put in place for departments that are seeing a rapid spike in contaminations.

Italy

Travel corridors:

Domestic travels have been allowed since June 2nd and the borders have been opened for the EU and other European countries. Italians and foreigners are free to enter and travel, and body temperatures are measured by the borders and at airports. Public transport is open and allowed whilst practicing social distance.

General hygiene & social activities:

In Italy, the official state of emergency has been prolonged by the government until October 15th. Following the general European trend, Italy is experiencing a second wave with an increase in infections and deaths.  Masks are mandatory once you step outside your house in public spaces.

Germany

Travel corridors:

Germany has opened its borders. However, since July 27th, a rule has been enforced that all travelers returning from risk areas will have to be tested. From September 15th onwards, testing at the airport will no longer be free of charge. On August 27th it was decided that people traveling back from risk areas commencing October 1st will have to stay in quarantine for 5 days before a negative Corona Test will be valid, whereas it is currently a 72 hour period. It is still very much recommended to avoid travel into risk areas, where possible.

General hygiene & social activities:

The contact restrictions in Germany have been slightly lifted. However, every state is still responsible for the implementation of federal regulations, which can slightly differ from each other. In some smaller regions, the infection rate has increased and local lockdowns have been implemented again. 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 as well as the general outdoors.

Netherlands

Travel corridors:

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 local travel advice is to avoid public transport during rush hour, it is mandatory to wear a face mask. Parties and events for large groups are now advised to take place in venues that allow for fixed seating, health checks at the door, and where guests need to leave their address and telephone number. The maximum indoor capacity is 100 people, without employees and the outdoor capacity is at 250 people, with a 1.5-meter social distance between guests.

Belgium

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.

General hygiene & social activities:

It is mandatory to wear a mask in indoor public places, on public transport, and depending on the city or specific zones in cities. Because of a rise in cases, the number of social contacts has been reduced again. Every household is allowed five close contacts and group activities are limited to 10 people. Everything has reopened except for nightclubs and large social events.

UK

Travel corridors:

The UK is open to the majority of Europe and the world, however, it is important to know the exact regulations that the UK has for your country of departure. The UK is regulating updating their travel corridors and several nations are now on the quarantine list, meaning that travelers must self isolate upon arrival to the UK from these countries. When entering 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 in all indoor public spaces in the UK. There have been several local lockdowns in the UK since the nationwide lockdown lifted. Life in the UK is far from normal, but as more shops and non-essential businesses open up again, though, with strict hygiene measures in place, social life is beginning to resume again.

US

Travel corridors:

US residents can begin to travel internationally again, however, some countries are not permitting US residents entry. Likewise, many countries do not advise their own residents to travel to the US. 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. On top of the high rates of infection and unemployment in the States, the country has been facing nationwide anti-racist protests since May and natural disasters, such as Tropical Storms Isaias and Laura, as well as the California fires. Due to the protests and looming natural disasters on top of the pandemic and upcoming election, 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.”

 

 

 
 
 
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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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