Government finalises plan to lift most COVID restrictions on March 20
The German federal government and federal states agreed nearly a month ago to lift almost all remaining COVID-related restrictions from March 20. The relevant legislation has now been drafted, but COVID measures haven’t entirely been consigned to history: a “hotspot regulation” means state governments will retain the power to intervene in the case of future outbreaks.
Germany’s COVID rules scrapped after March 20, but with “hotspot regulation”
For weeks, politicians in Germany have been debating which measures should be kept on the table to curb cases of coronavirus in the future, after most rules are scrapped on March 20. A draft law has now been put together by Justice Minister Marco Buschmann and Health Minister Karl Lauterbach, and gives an idea of what’s in store for residents of Germany.
The new regulation, which will come into effect on March 20, is based on two primary pillars. On the one hand, there will soon be “virtually no more restrictions” on daily life. The two major exceptions to this will be a mask requirement on public transport and a testing requirement in certain spaces where vulnerable people are present, for instance for people working in or visiting care homes.
The second pillar - the compromise - is a hotspot regulation, which will be a batch of measures that the federal states can utilise in the case of new, “difficult” outbreaks - for instance if the healthcare system becomes overloaded, or a new virus variant changes the state of play. The state parliaments would then be able to act immediately, for instance by bringing back mask or distance requirements, 2G and 3G rules, or compulsory testing in schools.
“The ideal compromise”
“I think that’s the ideal compromise,” Buschmann told ZDF. “On the one hand to get as much normality as possible for people and on the other hand to be able to act if there is actually a concrete dangerous situation.”
The government draft will now be discussed with the federal cabinet and the federal states. Their approval is expected to come on Wednesday. After that, the legal standing for most coronavirus-related restrictions will expire on March 19.