Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) and the heads of government of the federal states agreed on a double strategy in the corona pandemic on Wednesday. The lockdown is to be extended in principle until March 28th. However, there should be easing in the next few days. They apply above all to private contacts and business. What exactly is allowed again depends on the course of the infection. Regional differences can also be taken into account.
After a slightly delayed start, the Corona summit lasted more than nine hours. The federal and state governments agreed on these points shortly before midnight:
Lockdown: In principle, the lockdown will be extended nationwide until March 28th. The background to this is the concern about highly contagious coronavirus mutations. Most recently, the number of new infections per 100,000 inhabitants in one week (“incidence”) rose again slightly to 64 nationwide.
Opening steps from an incidence below 50: For a long time it was argued at which incidence further opening steps should apply, for example in retail; only from values below 35 or already below 50, as required by several countries.
According to information from NewsABC.net, there were hours of dispute over the 35 on Wednesday. After an interruption and negotiations in a small circle with Merkel, the 35 has now been replaced by the 50.
The five stages look like this:
- Step 1: Opening schools and hairdressers – already applies
- Level 2: Bookstores, flower shops and garden markets should now be allowed to open. With appropriate hygiene rules, opening can be made with a “limitation of one customer per 10 square meters for the first 800 square meters of sales area and another for every additional 20 square meters”. Driving and flight schools as well as body-friendly services should also be allowed to open nationwide, but in case of doubt they have to demand a negative corona test from customers.
- Stage 3 – Incidence Below 50: Retail stores are allowed to open with a limit of one customer per 10 square meters for the first 800 square meters and one more for every additional 20 square meters. There are also museums, galleries, zoological and botanical gardens and memorials. Also possible: contact-free sport in small groups (max. 10 people) outdoors, also on outdoor sports facilities.
- Stage 3 – incidence between 50 and 100: Opening of the retail trade for so-called appointment shopping offers (“click and meet”), whereby one customer per 40 sqm of sales area or part thereof is permitted to follow up contacts in the store after booking an appointment with documentation. Also possible: the opening of museums, galleries, zoological and botanical gardens as well as memorial sites for visitors with prior appointment booking with documentation for contact follow-up. In addition: individual sport alone or in pairs and sport in groups of up to ten children up to 14 years in the outdoor area also on outdoor sports facilities.
- Stage 4 – Incidence Below 50: If after level 3 the incidence remains below 50 for 14 days: opening of outdoor restaurants, opening of theaters, concert halls, opera houses and cinemas. Also possible: non-contact sport indoors, contact sport outdoors.
- Level 4 – incidence between 50 and 100: If after level 3 the incidence remains between 50 and 100 for 14 days: The opening of the outdoor catering to visitors with appointment booking with documentation for contact follow-up. If people from several households are sitting at the same table, a daily updated COVID-19 quick test or self-test is required. Also allowed: opening of theaters, concert and opera houses and cinemas to visitors with a daily COVID-19 quick test or self-test. And: contact-free sport indoors and contact sport outdoors, provided that all participants have a daily COVID-19 quick test or self-test.
- Level 5 – incidence below 50: If after level 4 the incidence remains below 50 for 14 days: outdoor recreational events with up to 50 participants and indoor contact sports.
- Level 5 – incidence between 50 and 100: If after level 4 the incidence remains between 50 and 100 for 14 days, the following should be allowed: the opening of the retail trade with a limit of one customer per 10 square meters for the first 800 square meters of retail space and one or another for every additional 20 square meters Square meters. In addition, contact-free sport indoors and contact sport outdoors (without a test requirement) should then be possible.
Further Opening steps The federal and state governments want to decide at their next Corona summit on March 22, 2021 for areas not mentioned in the gastronomy, culture, events, travel and hotels sectors.
If the incidence rises above 100, all openings are withdrawn. Then the strict lockdown rules will come into force again until March 7th.
Private meetings: From Monday, more friends, relatives and acquaintances should be able to meet again. According to this, meetings of your own household with another household are possible, but no more than 5 people. Children up to 14 years are not counted.
In regions with an incidence below 35, the possibilities for private get-togethers can be expanded: In this case, meetings between your own and two other households with a total of a maximum of ten people should be possible. Children up to 14 years do not count. If the incidence rises above 100 again, the “emergency brake” applies: Then the possibility of private get-togethers is again limited to one’s own household and one other person. Children up to 14 years are not counted.
Emergency brake: If the incidence in a country or a district rises above 100 on three consecutive days, all the easing measures decided at the summit will be withdrawn and the restrictive rules will come into force by March 7th (“emergency brake”).
Free Rapid tests: All citizens can take a free corona test at least once a week. This is to be accepted in a test center operated by the municipality. In particular, staff in schools and daycare centers as well as all students should be offered at least one free quick test per attendance week. Companies should make such an offer to their employees who work in the office instead of in the home office – but one duty is off the table.
Vaccinations: The federal and state governments have agreed that from the end of March / beginning of April all citizens should also be vaccinated in general practitioners’ and specialist practices. The aim is to accelerate the vaccination campaign. The federal states should be able to decide more flexibly about the sequence of vaccinations, whereby the priorities of the federal vaccination ordinance should in principle be adhered to. What exactly that means is still unclear.
The federal and state governments want to discuss how to proceed after March 28th on March 22nd.