Germany to Enter ‘Hard’ Lockdown as Cases Continue to Surge

By Paul Riegler on 13 December 2020
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Glühwein stall at the Münchner Christkindlmarkt at Marienplatz

Saying “there was an urgent need for action,” Bundeskanzler Angela Merkel announced that Germany would enter a “hard” lockdown.

Non-essential shops will be shuttered, schoolchildren will largely receive instruction online, and workplaces are being encouraged to close.  Bundesfinanzminister Olaf Scholz pledged financial support for businesses affected by the lockdown.

Shops and services deemed essential will remain open and available including grocery stores, apothecaries, opticians, filling stations, and bicycle repair shops.  Personal care service businesses such as barbershops, beauty parlors, and tattoo shops, will be closed for the duration of the lockdown.

The sale of Christmas trees will be allowed to continue.

The action came after two months of increased coronavirus cases that show no signs of abating despite a partial lockdown in recent weeks. The Robert Koch Institut reported that there were 20,200 new infections on Sunday, 2,000 more than the prior week.  Until October 14, the number of new daily cases had not risen above 7,000.

The lockdown goes into effect Wednesday and will remain in place through January 10, 2021.

Strict measures are in place around the holidays: Christmas Day gatherings will be limited to five people from a maximum of two different households, those wishing to attend church services will be required to register in advance, and singing will not be permitted.

Individual Bundesländer are adding their own restrictions.  Baden-Württemburg joined Bavaria in putting a curfew into place: Residents there are only allowed to leave their homes for work and medical appointments.

“The coronavirus is out of control,” said Bavarian Ministerpräsident Markus Söder, who described the pandemic as a “catastrophe” and joined Merkel in calling for the lockdown.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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