German chancellor wants to ease measures for social contacts from 8 March
Tuesday, 02 March 2021
On Wednesday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel will propose to relax the restrictions on social contacts from 8 March to the heads of the German regions, according to a draft resolution.
From now on, contacts will be possible between “two households” but not exceeding five people, excluding children under 14, according to the draft.
In addition, florists, garden centres and bookshops should be allowed to reopen in areas where they have not yet done so, according to the draft.
Driving schools, flying schools, beauty salons and massage parlours should also be allowed to resume their activities, but customers will have to present themselves with an antigen test.
In areas where the seven-day incidence rate is less than 35 per 1,000 inhabitants, retail shops will also be able to reopen, limited to one customer per 20 square metres, as well as museums and some outdoor sports arenas.
All shops except supermarkets and other food shops, as well as some shops considered essential, had closed just before Christmas, when the country was hit hard by a second wave of infections much more significant than the first in the spring.
For the rest, Merkel is expected to decide on Wednesday with the leaders of the 16 regional states to further extend, until 28 March, the extensive restrictions in force for some of them for the past four months, such as the closure of restaurants, bars, museums and sports halls.
Nevertheless, voices are being heard, particularly in the regions less affected by the pandemic, to demand more flexibility, two months after the start of the vaccination campaign.
The number of infections in Germany, which had fallen sharply due to strict restrictions in January and February, has risen again.
The authorities are particularly worried about the more contagious UK and South African variants of the virus.
The number of cases has increased by 3,943 in 24 hours, according to data from the Robert Koch Institute (the German equivalent to Sciensano), while the number of deaths this weekend crossed the threshold of 70,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic.