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German federal states agree to stricter rules for restaurants and events

German federal states agree to stricter rules for restaurants and events

German federal states agree to stricter rules for restaurants and events

Chancellor Angela Merkel and the leaders of Germany’s 16 federal states have agreed to new curbs to contain the spread of coronavirus, including caps on the number of people allowed to attend social gatherings and fines for those who provide incorrect contact details at restaurants and bars. 

Merkel and state leaders unveil new coronavirus restrictions

Following a video conference with state leaders on Tuesday afternoon, Merkel presented Germany’s new “hotspot strategy”, emphasising that the goal of the new measures was to get on top of rising infection numbers, while avoiding another national lockdown. 

Emphasising that the government’s top priority is to keep the economy, schools and daycare centres running, the state leaders agreed that no further reopenings of public life are to be permitted at present - and that several new restrictions must instead be imposed. 

“We want to act regionally, specifically and purposefully, rather than shutting down the whole country again - this must be prevented at all costs,” Merkel said at the press conference on Tuesday evening. “We have learned a lot and did well throughout the summer, [but] we know that more difficult times are ahead of us, namely the autumn and winter months.” 

Cap on event participants in coronavirus hotspots in Germany

Pointing out that recent spikes in infection numbers have primarily been traced back to weddings, family gatherings and parties, Merkel said that “a reaction is therefore necessary.” The new rule stipulates that, in any region where infection rates exceed 35 new cases per 100.000 in the past seven days, a cap of 50 people would be imposed on gatherings in public spaces or rented venues.

If the number of new cases surpasses 50 per 100.000 people, then only 25 people would be allowed at public gatherings. 

Merkel and the state premiers were unable to agree on a binding rule for private parties at home, but Merkel said they “strongly recommended” a limit of 10 guests in homes in the hardest-hit regions.  

Fines for false contact information and alcohol restrictions

The new curbs also include a few measures designed to specifically target restaurants. All 16 of Germany’s federal states have now been given the option to impose time restrictions or temporary bans on the sale of alcohol in restaurants and bars. 

The state leaders also agreed to impose a 50-fine on individuals who provide false information to restaurants and other indoor establishments, who are required to collect contact details for tracing purposes. “This is no trivial offence,” Merkel explained. “The operators must ensure that people are giving real information… if names like Donald Duck are provided, it’s not hard to spot.” In case of doubt, business owners should ask for ID cards, she said. The fine will not apply in Saxony-Anhalt; in Schleswig-Holstein it has been increased to 100 euros.  

Two letters will also be added to the “AHA formula” (which stands for Abstand halten, Hygiene and Alltagsmaske - distance, hygiene, masks) - “C” and “L”, which stand for Corona Warn App and Lüften (ventilation). Merkel described these steps as “some of the cheapest and most effective measures” in combating the virus. 

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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