Germany set to allow all shops and schools to reopen this month. Following new steps towards normalisation, the government agreed on a draft agreement seen by AFP Wednesday.
In May, reopening shops and schools will take place if the epidemiological situation is good in Germany, the new governmental agreement says. Following the longest-ever quarantine, Germany’s economy is going to revive.
The weeks of shutdown imposed to control the spread of the coronavirus were useful for public health but not for the economy. Chancellor Angela Merkel and premiers from Germany’s 16 federal states are expected to sign off on the text later Wednesday.
“Even after initial steps to open up were introduced from April 20, the number of new infections remained low,” the agreement reads, with “no new wave of infection” so far detected — justifying the series of bolder reopening steps.
In other words, only certain children like those soon facing exams had been allowed to return to class. But now kindergartens and primary schools will also reopen from May 11.
“Step-by-step, schools should make possible education of all pupils while implementing appropriate hygiene measures and upholding distancing rules,” the document reads.
To keep a situation under control, it will be up to the individual regions to decide how to proceed with reopening universities. The politicians also said that all shops could reopen but requirements “for hygiene, managing entry and avoiding queues forming” would be imposed.
As of today, only shops up to a floor space of 800 square metres had been authorised to resume sales in May.
States will also have a free hand over whether to reopen restaurants beginning on May 9, as well as on decisions affecting theatres, concert halls, nightclubs and gyms.
Germany keeps being attentive to the PPP
While the coronavirus peak is over, Germany keeps being attentive to the protective measures. Protective masks and avoiding the crowds are must so far. In fact, the one major coronavirus restriction set to remain in place — likely for several months — is a ban on large gatherings like sports matches, cultural events or festivals.
Such events will remain forbidden until “at least August 31”.
The government also includes a general call for Germans to continue to maintain a safe distance from one another and wear masks in shops and on public transport.
According to the general plan, if more than 50 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants are detected within seven days, the affected city or district must impose “a corresponding lockdown plan”.
In case of a “localised and clearly containable infection pattern” — such as in a single institution like an old people’s home — the measures could be limited only to the specific place affected, rather than a whole region.