Danes ditch masks, allow more Euro 2020 fans in lockdown deal

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Customers sit outside a bar as a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) lockdown has been partially lifted in central Copenhagen, Denmark, April 23, 2021. REUTERS/Tim Barsoe

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COPENHAGEN, June 10 (Reuters) - Denmark will ditch the use of masks and allow 9,000 more fans to attend European Championship soccer matches in Copenhagen, its government said on Thursday, under a deal to ease lockdown rules.

The Nordic country has avoided a third COVID-19 wave with broad lockdown measures introduced in late December and has gradually reopened as infection rates have dropped.

With the new deal, 25,000 fans will be allowed to attend European Championship matches taking place in Copenhagen, up from around 16,000 fans.

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The Danes are set to meet Finland, Belgium and Russia at the Parken Stadium, which will also host one of the last-16 games in the tournament, which was postponed by a year due to the coronavirus pandemic and will take place from June 11-July 11.

However, the Danish Football Association DBU told broadcaster TV2 it was not ready for 25,000 fans at the national stadium when Denmark plays its first match against Finland on Saturday.

Masks will no longer be mandatory from June 14, except for standing passengers on public transport, the government said of the deal, which also allows for restaurants and bars to gradually extend their opening hours.

"The development in infections is at a stable level while the vaccinations of Danes run at a good pace," Justice Minister Nick Haekkerup said in a statement.

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Reporting by Stine Jacobsen; editing by Jason Neely

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