Federal Minister of Economy and Energy of Germany Peter Altmeier said during a meeting of the German government that the situation with the coronavirus in Germany is out of control.
The moderate-harsh measures were not enough to avoid harsh isolation at Christmas, the official said. In this regard, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the Prime Ministers of the 16 federal states of Germany decided to stop the work of retail stores throughout the country (except for food). The ban on their work will come into force on December 16 and will be valid until January 10. On the same day, all schools and kindergartens are closed, Evropeiskaya Pravda reports, citing local media outlets.
Altmaier appealed to the residents of the country with a convincing request not to storm stores in the last days before the lockdown, refusing to bulk purchases before Christmas. According to him, this will lead to unnecessary excitement and a large crowd of people in confined spaces, which is highly undesirable during the coronavirus pandemic.
On New Year’s Eve, a ban on public events and festivities is also introduced. At the same time, citizens are strongly advised to refuse to launch fireworks. During a hard lockdown, a German resident is advised not to travel to other regions of the country or abroad. An exception will be made only in emergency cases when it is impossible to refuse travel for valid reasons.
There are also other minor concessions. In particular, on the Christmas holidays (December 24-26), meetings in a narrow family circle are not prohibited. However, the maximum number of participants in such meetings should be no more than nine adults. A more accurate number of participants in family parties will be determined by the authorities of the federal states, depending on the situation in the German regions with COVID-19.
In addition to grocery stores, from December 16 to January 10, banks, gas stations, dry goods, pharmacies, and a post office will continue to work as usual.
It is allowed to attend church services in churches, but with strict observance of the mask regime and social distance. At the same time, chanting in churches is prohibited, and it will be possible to get to major services only by appointment.
Businesses that are shut down due to a lockdown will receive expanded government assistance. Its maximum amount increases from 200 thousand euros to 500 thousand euros. True, we are talking here about those companies that are directly or indirectly under the threat of bankruptcy. Compensation is also provided for the loss of goods in price. At the same time, Peter Altmeier stressed that he hopes that Germany will be able to avoid a recession.
Recall, according to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), over the last day in Germany, the number of new cases of coronavirus amounted to 16 362, which is less than the day before, but significantly more than exactly a week ago. Moreover, over the past 24 hours, the number of deaths in Germany has increased by 188. In addition, 4,554 patients diagnosed with COVID-19 are now being treated in intensive care units.