A full lockdown will be imposed throughout Germany from 16th Dec to the 10th Jan.This was decided by the Chancellor in unison with the various states and announced by Merkel together with other politicians such as Finance Minister Olaf Scholz and Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Söder,at a press conference in Berlin.
Retail will be closed - except for stores selling groceries and other daily necessities (post office, garages, newspaper sales, Christmas tree sales, gas stations, opticians, pharmacies, medical supply stores or beverage markets).
Service businesses such as hairdressers, tattoo studios, beauty salons or massage practices will also have to close - with the exception of therapeutic practices (e.g. physiotherapy or occupational therapy).
Schools and daycare centers will be closed. Emergency care will be provided and distance learning will be offered. Additional opportunities will be created for parents to take paid leave to care for children during the specified period.
Services in churches, synagogues and mosques are to be held only within narrow limits. These include a minimum distance of 1.5 meters, the obligation to wear masks, a ban on singing and the obligation to register for large religious services.
Employers are urged to consider company vacations or maximum home office.
Restaurants may continue to sell take-out meals. Canteens may also remain open.
Consumption of alcohol is prohibited in public from Dec. 16 to Jan. 10.
Christmas only with direct relatives. Existing contact restrictions remain in place: Two households may continue to meet up to a maximum of five people (plus children 14 and under). The exception is the holidays from December 24 to 26, when four more people (plus children up to 14 years of age) may be invited over to one's own household - but they must consist of direct relatives (parents, children and siblings or their dependents). This regulation should be seen as a relaxation from the contact restrictions mentioned previously. However, the chancellor appealed to people to reduce all contacts as much as possible in the seven days before Christmas, so that as few people as possible are infected with the corona virus during the holidays.
Christmas and Corona New Year's Eve without fireworks. The turn of the year will be quiet, unlike in previous years. Contributing to this, in addition to contact restrictions and a ban on arrivals and gatherings, is the fact that no fireworks are permitted to be sold this year. The ignition of fireworks is not prohibited, but it is strongly discouraged. The reason, according to Bavarian Minister President Markus Söder, is that hospitals have urgently requested that fireworks not be allowed to take place because the annual injuries from rockets and firecrackers would put additional strain on clinics overburdened by the Corona pandemic.
Regular testing of staff in retirement and nursing homes. The states want to mandate that medical staff be tested for the corona virus several times a week. This is also suggested for nursing services. In addition, in regions with an increased incidence, visitors should have to show a current negative corona test. The federal government will provide nursing homes and homes for the elderly with FFP-2 masks and funding for rapid antigen tests.
Individual regions that are particularly affected are to develop and implement additional hotspot strategies if more than 50 people per 100,000 inhabitants are infected with corona per week there. From 200 new infections, the measures are to be tightened again.
Lastly, the government issues an appeal for no travel! The federal and state governments are urgently appealing to all citizens to refrain from non-essential travel within the country and also to other countries in the period up to January 10.
Photo by William Smyth