Measures to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic have put a sudden halt to street protests and other forms of citizen involvement in Europe. At the same time, the pandemic has increased the need for solidarity, motivating citizens to become involved on behalf of people at risk and the vulnerable more generally. This research note empirically examines the tension between the demobilisation and activation potential of the COVID-19 crisis. Drawing on original survey data from seven Western European countries, we examine the extent, forms, and drivers of citizens' engagement. Our findings show the remarkable persistence of pre-existing political and civic engagement patterns. Concurrently, we show that threat perceptions triggered by the multifaceted COVID-19 crisis have mobilized Europeans in the early phase of the pandemic. Similarly, the role of extreme ideological orientations in explaining (regular) political engagement indicates that the current situation may create its specific mobilisation potentials.