German states push to extend COVID measures until May
March 20 was supposed to be the day that most coronavirus-related restrictions were scrapped in Germany. Due to the high infection rate, however, the federal states hesitated and extended the rules. Now, according to reports in the German media, the decision may be postponed yet again, meaning that coronavirus regulations could stay in place until at least May.
German states want to postpone end of restrictions for another 4 weeks
Germany’s “Freedom Day” is still likely a long way off. According to a draft resolution prepared ahead of a state premier conference (GMK) on Monday, seen by Business Insider, politicians are still feeling twitchy about the high infection rate in Germany, and so want to extend the previous coronavirus regulations even further.
Originally, the plan was to scrap 2G and 3G rules, most mask requirements and upper capacity limits for events on March 20, the day that the legal basis for these rules expired. The states were to be left with a catalogue of measures (called the “hotspot regulation”) they could implement should coronavirus cases rise in specific areas.
However, in the view of many federal states, this scenario is far too lax given how high the incidence rate currently is. The states, therefore, opted to make use of a clause that enabled them to keep the current rules in place during a transitional period until April 2. Last week, Germany clocked in a new record of 1,5 million cases in seven days.
States want more clarity from the government on COVID rules
Now, however, according to the GMK draft resolution, the federal states are pushing for this transitional period to be extended by at least four weeks. This would mean that the obligation to wear a mask indoors, 2G and 3G rules in restaurants and bars, and event capacity limits would apply until at least the beginning of May, if not longer.
“Especially in view of the current infection situation, the states need robust powers for the necessary protective measures. [The law] in its current version does not do justice to this,” the paper states. Above all, the federal states are arguing that unclear legal regulations make it harder for them to implement basic protective measures.
They are further calling on the government to define exactly what a hotspot is, and whether this could include an entire federal state. They argue that the extended transitional period could be used to iron out these details.