Most stores with an area of less than 800 m2 will be able to accommodate customers again from this Monday morning.
Many stores reopen their doors this Monday in Germany, the first step in a long deconfinement operation in a country where the epidemic of new coronavirus is “under control” .
Grocery stores, bookshops, car dealerships… Most stores with an area of less than 800 m2 will be able to welcome customers again from this Monday morning.
This is the first step in the deconfinement strategy devised by Angela Merkel and, federalism obliges, the leaders of the 16 German Länder. The Chancellor, whose management of the crisis is welcomed by the Germans, intends to restart an economy that entered into recession in March, a critical situation which should continue for several months.
A “fragile” success
With more than 135,000 officially registered cases and around 4,000 deaths, the pandemic is “under control and manageable” in Germany, in the words of the Minister of Health, Jens Spahn.
For the first time, the highly monitored infection rate, which measures the number of people on average infected by each Covid-19 patient, fell to less than 1 on Friday and was limited to 0.7, according to the institute Robert Koch, the federal authority responsible for epidemiological monitoring.
This “milestone success” is nevertheless “fragile”, warned Angela Merkel, who had placed herself two weeks in solitary confinement at her Berlin home after having been in contact with a doctor who tested positive for Covid-19 disease.
“We will not be able to live our old life for a long time. Distance and protection will remain the rule and the measure of our daily life, “warns Armin Laschet, leader of one of the most affected regions, North Rhine-Westphalia, and candidate for the presidency of the conservative CDU party.
Very gradual lifting of restrictions
Germany thus intends to very gradually lift the social restrictions put in place over the past month. Schools and high schools will only reopen on May 4, starting with the oldest students. In Bavaria, the Land most affected by the epidemic, the return is scheduled for a week later.
The regional education ministries, which have the main educational prerogatives in Germany, must present measures by 29 April to ensure that pupils respect reasonable distances from each other, in particular by reducing the size of classes and learning groups.
The ban on grouping more than two people in public space, except with the family, is also extended. The minimum distance of 1.5 meters should continue to be observed between each person.
As for hairdressing salons, they too will not reopen until May 4. Massage, beauty and tattoo parlors remain closed. Cultural places, bars, restaurants – except for deliveries -, play areas, sports fields, also remain closed. Large gatherings such as concerts or sports competitions will remain prohibited until at least August 31.
Mandatory protections in Saxony
Germany intends to accompany this gradual deconfinement with a set of measures intended to stem the epidemic. She plans to multiply the tests in order to isolate the sick. She has made about 1.7 million so far.
The wearing of masks is not compulsory at this stage but it is “strongly advised” by Chancellor Merkel. Germany should thus produce from August 50 million masks per week, including 10 million filter masks meeting the FFP2 protection standard .
Wearing a mask, made compulsory for an experiment at Iena, would be essential to stem the contagion. The Thuringian city had not registered new infections on Friday for a week, according to the German press.
The Land of Saxony, located in former East Germany, has decided to make it compulsory from Monday to wear a protection, mask or scarf.