A Good Reason is an independent research project with the aim of creating a complete dataset of lockdown policies in Europe. At the same time, my project shall help to raise awareness of the undesired effects of stay-at-home orders as well as of ethical objections to them. The information on this website shall contribute to both research and public discussion on the costs and benefits of stay-at-home orders, curfews, and other limitations to the individual right of movement.
If you want to learn more about my motivation to do research about lockdowns and read about the current state of evidence on costs and benefits of lockdowns, you can do so under Motivation. You can find a description of the dataset and the data itself under the tab Data. I will log all major changes to this website and to the data under Updates. If you want to know who I am or contact me, please refer to About me / Contact. Please contact me especially if you find any mistakes on this website or in the data.
Below you can find a map of Europe with all countries coloured according to the strictest lockdown rules that have ever been in place until now. Several countries have reacted differently to the first wave of the pandemic as compared to subsequent spikes in infections since the summer of 2020, referred to as “second wave” here. In the section “Motivation” you find two tables classifying countries for both waves separately.
There are various geographical definitions of which countries belong to Europe. For my research, I included all countries that are entirely located in Europe according to the Wikipedia article on Europe. Furthermore, I included Russia and Turkey where a significant share of the population lives in Europe, and Cyprus which is a member of the European Union. I included all microstates except the Vatican. I separately analysed policies in all de-facto independent territories no matter their international recognition. Therefore, Kosovo and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus are included as separate entities. This is by no means a political statement on whether these territories should be recognised as independent or not. It merely reflects the status quo that they are independently governed and that data is available for both.
Please take all information you can find here with caution. I did my best to gather all available public information, but especially for Eastern Europe, this was complicated because I do not speak any Slavic language. There might be local lockdowns missing if they have not been reported on any English news site. I will correct and update the data as soon as I take note of any missing lockdowns.
9 countries have never issued a stay-at-home order. These are, in alphabetical order: Belarus, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland
Croatia and Finland are given a different colour because unlike the other countries in this category, they banned inter-city movement. Croatia did so for one month in March and April of 2020. Finland only restricted the travel from and to the capital region for about three weeks in March and April of 2020. None of these 10 countries ever had a wide-scale outside mask mandate. Some local outside mask mandates have been in place though, e.g. in some shopping streets in Switzerland.
Bulgaria, Estonia and Serbia had introduced stricter measures in the spring of 2020 but refrained from reimposing stay-at-home orders during the second wave of the pandemic. Bulgaria and Estonia already had only local stay-at-home orders during the first wave with walks being allowed in Estonia. Serbia, on the other hand, reacted very strictly to the first wave with a strict stay-at-home order for elderly people and a curfew for everyone that included a ban on leaving the house on Sunday. When Serbia announced a new curfew on 7 July 2020, some two weeks after a disputed national election, this sparked protests and riots and the government refrained from further pursuing their plan.
In Austria and in the United Kingdom, stay-at-home orders were in force both in spring 2020 and in winter 2020/21. In both countries, it was allowed to go outside for a walk at all times though. The regulations in Austria were the most liberal among the countries that had a stay-at-home order as they allowed for “outdoor leisure activities”. In the United Kingdom, during the first wave, the official communication was that it was allowed to exercise or going for a walk once a day but this was only legally binding in Wales. In the UK, people were only allowed to go for a walk or exercise in “their local area” which led to some disputes over the exact radius people were allowed to circulate in. There have not been any outdoor mask mandates in these countries.
Ireland had a complete stay-at-home order for risk groups but allowed others brief individual exercise within 2 km from home during the first wave. During the second wave, everyone was allowed to exercise within 5 km from home.
Lithuania did not have a stay-at-home order during the first wave, but made wearing masks mandatory outdoors independent of whether a distance towards others could be kept. I include outdoor mask mandates in my research as they limit the right to free movement and could be rephrased to a “stay at home unless you wear a mask” order. During the second wave, a stay-at-home order was in place that allowed for individual walks, but masks had to be worn outside again.
Andorra and Poland turned from stay-at-home orders during the first wave to no such restrictions during the winter, but they made wearing masks mandatory outside even when keeping a distance towards others. Poland actually had a curfew during the second wave, but only for one night (New Year’s Eve).
Malta and Ukraine both had stay-at-home orders only for risk groups, i.e. the elderly, during the first wave. During the second wave, they did not reimpose stay-at-home orders or curfews but made wearing masks mandatory outside at least in parts of the country.
The Netherlands and Latvia had no ban on individual movement during the first wave but switched to night curfews during the winter.
Belgium and Luxembourg had stay-at-home orders during the first waves but allowed for individual outdoor activities such as going for a walk. Later, they applied night curfews. The Belgian city of Antwerp was one of the first places in Western Europe to introduce a night curfew in July 2020.
Hungary, Monaco and Slovenia also changed from stay-at-home orders that allowed for a walk to only night curfews, They introduced an outside mask mandate during the second wave, however.
Bosnia and Herzegovina had night curfews in both waves, in the first combined with a daytime stay-at-home order for some age groups, in the second combined with mandatory outside masks.
In the Czech Republic, a stay-at-home order allowing for individual exercise was passed in both waves, in the second with strict night curfews. Outdoor masks were mandatory in both waves.
Slovakia had a stay-at-home order with limited possibilities for outdoor exercises and an outside mask mandate during the first wave with stricter rules locally. During the second wave, not only outdoor masks were necessary again, but a strict night curfew was introduced. In the daytime, a negative test was necessary for everyone between 15 and 65 to go outside.
Germany had stay-at-home orders allowing for individual outdoor activities during the first wave in some states. During the second wave, such a policy was only applied in Bavaria on the state level. There have been local stay-at-home orders that did not allow for outdoor activities however in the spring of 2020. During the second wave, wearing masks outdoors has been obligatory in many places, but not on a national or state level. In winter 2020/21 and spring 2021, night curfews have been applied in all German municipalities that exceeded a certain incidence of infections.
Countries that had strict stay-at-home orders with little exceptions during the first wave but changed to night curfews during the second are Albania, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, San Marino, and Spain. Except for San Marino, all these countries also introduced outdoor mask mandates (there are few sources on San Marino, maybe I missed something).
Russia had a strict lockdown in nearly all provinces during the first wave, but only locally imposed a stay-at-home order on elderly persons during the second wave.
Romania imposed a strict stay-at-home order during the first wave. During the second, wearing masks outside was mandatory and a strict night curfew was in place. Furthermore, many municipalities were “quarantined”, i.e. local stay-at-home orders were imposed.
The following countries introduced strict stay-at-home orders with no or only very limited exceptions for outdoor exercises (e.g. only for 1 hour a day or only after sending a text message) in both waves. They also all introduced outdoor mask mandates at some point: Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Moldova, Northern Cyprus, Portugal, Turkey.
If you find any information that is incorrect or incomplete, please do not hesitate to write me an e-mail!