Economy

Corona summit from the federal and state governments: These winter rules apply now

From left: Berlin’s Governing Mayor Michael Müller (SPD), currently chairman of the Prime Minister’s Conference, Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) and Bavaria’s Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU)

Stefanie Loos / AFP POOL / dpa

The federal and state governments have agreed on new rules in the coming weeks to contain the corona pandemic. The prime ministers spoke for eight and a half hours with Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) at a video conference.

The following rules have been decided and will apply from December 1st:

Partial lockdown: The current partial lockdown will be extended until December 20th and partially tightened. Restaurants, pubs, leisure facilities and cultural establishments must remain closed.

Contact restrictions: From December 1st, private meetings are only allowed with people from another household and a maximum of five. There are exceptions on Christmas days and New Year’s Eve. Meetings with family members or friends from different households are then allowed to a maximum of ten. In both cases, children up to the age of 14 are not included.

School holidays: The federal and state governments agreed to bring the Christmas holidays forward. They should begin nationwide on December 19th.

Firecracker ban: There should be a nationwide ban on firecrackers in busy squares and streets, but only there. The local authorities should determine the places and streets affected.

School lessons: In Corona hotspots with more than 50 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants in the last seven days (“incidence”), students from grade 7 must wear a mask in class. Schools without an infection can be excluded. The federal government and the federal states also agreed to introduce hybrid instruction – that means a division of classes and their instruction in the school and, if necessary, digitally alternating – from an incidence value of 200 for years from the 8th grade.

Stricter rules in particularly affected hotspots: Countries “with a particularly high infection rate in hotspots” should tighten the regional regulations. After long debates, the group agreed on an incidence of over 200 as the definition of “particularly high”.

Lockdown relaxation: Countries with fewer than 50 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants in the last seven days and a simultaneously falling incidence have the opportunity to relax the regulations.

Retail trade: So far, one customer is allowed per 10 square meters in all shops. For department stores and shopping centers with more than 800 square meters of retail space, the stricter requirement of one customer per 20 square meters will apply in future. For all other stores under 800 square meters, there is still one customer per 10 square meters.

Train journeys: In the winter months, only the window seats will be bookable on long-distance Deutsche Bahn trains. In areas for more than two people, passengers should only be allowed to sit crosswise.

Economic aid: Bridging aid III was extended until the middle of next year. To this end, the November aid will be extended until December 20th. Companies that are affected by a closure receive 75 percent of the previous year’s sales, i.e. from November and December 2019.

School buses and hospitals: Before the Corona summit, the countries demanded more money for better transport for students and for hospitals. The federal and state governments have agreed on a compromise on both issues: the Federal Ministry of Health, the Health Ministers Conference and an advisory board are to decide on better hospital funding at a later date. On the subject of schools, the transport ministers of the federal states will also come to an agreement with the Federal Ministry of Transport at a later date.

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