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COVID state of emergency to expire next month, but some rules will remain

COVID state of emergency to expire next month, but some rules will remain

COVID state of emergency to expire next month, but some rules will remain

The question of whether Germany should end or renew its COVID-19 state of emergency, which is due to expire at the end of next month, has been occupying much discussion over the past few days. Now the SPD, Greens and FDP have announced a plan for the next few months, which will see some restrictions remain in place until at least the end of March. 

COVID state of emergency to expire in November in Germany

As Germany’s “traffic light coalition” parties announced on Wednesday, the so-called “epidemic situation of national relevance” - a state of emergency which gave the federal and state governments extra powers to order measures without needing parliamentary approval - will be allowed to come to an “orderly end” in November. 

That means that tough measures like lockdowns, curfews and strict contact restrictions are ruled out for the time being. However, the parties will amend Germany’s Infection Protection Act to allow the federal states to impose certain other protective measures, as needed, even after the state of emergency has expired. 

Some restrictions to remain until at least March 2022

Ongoing measures could include mask requirements, hygiene concepts, contact tracing, distance requirements and possible capacity limits or access restrictions for public spaces - including 3G or 2G rules

The transitional arrangement will apply until March 20, 2022, the parties announced. After that date, all coronavirus measure sshould end, provided there are now changes to the virus, such as new mutations.

“The state of emergency must not become a permanent state,” said FDP General Secretary Volker Wissing to the Funke Media Group. “We have come to a new normal, and that as quickly as possible. The German Bundestag has to decide things again - and not the federal government with extensive organisation.” 

Government has had special powers since March 2020

The state of emergency was first established by the Bundestag back in March 2020 and has repeatedly been extended ever since. The amendment to the constitution allows the federal and state governments to order far-reaching measures to combat coronavirus, without needing the consent of their respective parliaments. 

If it is allowed to expire in November, the Infection Protection Act stipulates that the federal states will still have the option of determining the need for further corona measures via their state parliaments, so it would not necessarily mean the end of tough measures.

Germany’s states are however concerned that the end of the state of emergency could lead to a “patchwork quilt” of varying rules and measures across the country, and therefore negatively impact the population’s acceptance of the rules - especially in light of the rise in coronavirus case numbers in recent days

Abi

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Abi Carter

Abi studied History & German at the University of Manchester. She has since worked as a writer, editor and content marketeer, but still has a soft spot for museums, castles...

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