German Chancellor Angela Merkel and state leaders announced on Wednesday evening that the lockdown in the country will be extended until March 28. The government does, however, come up with a five-step plan to gradually relax corona measures.
From Monday, the first relaxations will take effect and people from different families can meet up to five people again indoors. The country has previously announced that hairdressers and schools may reopen.
Bookstores, flower shops and garden centers should also follow in the next phase. These have already been opened in some states, but due to the joint decision of Merkel and the state prime ministers, this may soon also be the case in the other states. Hygiene measures and visitor maximums will apply in the opened cases.
German society is under great pressure on the government to relax the corona measures, but according to Merkel that is not yet possible because the number of infections is still high. More than 9,000 new corona infections have been reported in the past 24 hours.
Restaurants and theaters reopen if situation does not deteriorate
Regions where the number of infections has fallen below 100 per 100,000 inhabitants may include museums, zoos and historic memorials reopening. This must be booked in advance and time slots apply.
If the situation does not deteriorate in the following two weeks, restaurants and cafes may once again receive guests outside and cinemas, theaters and music stages may reopen.
The German Chancellor and the State Prime Ministers have built an emergency brake into the five-step plan. This makes it possible to tighten the rules again if the number of infections rises again above 100 per 100,000 inhabitants.
Merkel: Vaccination is the solution
Merkel emphasized on Wednesday that vaccination is the way out of the corona crisis. However, this vaccination campaign is slow to get going in Germany.
To speed up the vaccination rate, Merkel wants to investigate whether it is possible to extend the time between the two corona pricks. This would allow more people to receive a first corona vaccine. The corona vaccines allowed in the EU (Moderna, AstraZeneca and Pfizer / BioNTech) each require two injections for protection. From the end of March or the beginning of April, GPs will help vaccinate their patients.
Earlier in the evening it was announced that every German from next week can do a free fast corona test every week.