Warmer weather and low coronavirus case numbers are raising hope in some countries in Europe that vaccine rollouts could usher in a more normal summer after an erratic year of lockdowns.
France announced on Wednesday, sooner than expected, that it was ending a mandate on mask wearing outdoors and lifting a nighttime curfew that has lasted for months — an increasingly unpopular measure as days grew longer and cafes reopened.
“The health situation in our country is improving, and it is improving even faster than what we had hoped,” Jean Castex, the French prime minister, said in making the announcement, which some political opponents noted came a few days before regional elections.
In addition, tourists from the United States may be allowed back into European Union countries as early as Friday — a move crucial to lifting Europe’s battered economies. On Wednesday, ambassadors of the European Union indicated their support for adding the United States to a list of countries considered safe from an epidemiological point of view, a bloc official confirmed, though no official announcement is expected until Friday.