Germany to implement a second, limited coronavirus lockdown
With coronavirus cases rising rapidly across the country, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the leaders of the 16 federal states have agreed upon the outlines of a new “partial lockdown”, which will apply from Monday, November 2. Here’s what was announced at the press conference on Wednesday evening.
German states agree to new, stricter coronavirus restrictions
Pointing to the exponential increase in the number of coronavirus cases in Germany - which have already doubled within the space of a week - Angela Merkel emphasised the seriousness of the situation: “It is perfectly clear that we have to act - and act now - to avoid a national emergency.”
Acknowledging that “the measures are tough”, Merkel called for a “national effort”, so that public life could be given the chance to resume again in December. The government’s explicit aim is to get the coronavirus situation back under control by Christmas time.
Merkel said that the new measures would initially apply until the end of November, but that she will consult with the federal states again in two weeks, to decide whether the restrictions must stay in place or could be modified.
This is what has been agreed to:
Strict contact restrictions
Until the end of November, meetings in public will be restricted to just two households, up to a maximum of 10 people. The agreed-upon resolution also states: "Groups of people celebrating in public places, in apartments and in private areas are unacceptable in view of the serious situation in our country."
Restaurants, bars and clubs closed
As during the lockdown in the spring, restaurants, bars and clubs will be forced once again to shut their doors. They will, however, be allowed to offer takeaway food for consumption at home. Canteens and shops will be allowed to remain open, with no more than one customer per 10 square metres of floor space.
Leisure facilities closed
Leisure and entertainment facilities such as theatres, cinemas, concert halls, amusement parks, swimming pools, gyms and saunas will be closed. The regulation also applies to cosmetic studios and massage practices (but not to hairdressers). All other large events will be cancelled, but religious services will be allowed to continue.
Amateur sports clubs will be closed, but individual sport activities are still allowed. In practice, this means that running or cycling outside is permitted, but children’s gymnastics clubs, for example, will have to close. Spectators will no longer be permitted at professional sports events.
Ban on tourist trips
Unnecessary travel both within Germany and abroad is now discouraged, even day trips or visits to relatives. Overnight stays for tourists will be banned. Stays will only be permitted in the case of emergencies or when individuals are travelling for professional reasons.
Working from home to continue
All of those who can work from home should continue to do so. Employers in Germany should, if necessary, make arrangements to facilitate this. Where employees cannot work from home, strict hygiene and protective measures must continue to be observed.
Schools and kindergartens remain open
Almost 15.000 new infections on Wednesday
Health authorities in Germany reported 14.969 new coronavirus infections in the 24 hours to Wednesday morning, according to the Robert Koch Institute - almost twice as many as on Wednesday last week.