Coronavirus

Lockdown extension until February 14th and stricter mask requirement

From left: Berlin’s governing Michael Müller (SPD), Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU), Bavaria’s Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) and Vice Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD)

picture alliance / dpa / dpa pool | Bernd von Jutrczenka

Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) and the prime ministers of the 16 countries decided on Tuesday to extend and tighten the rules to contain the corona pandemic. After seven hours of discussions, which were particularly controversial about the school and daycare closings, the federal and state governments agreed on these new corona rules:

Lockdown: The lockdown, which was planned until the end of January, will be extended ahead of time to February 14th.

Mask requirement: In the future, everyday masks should no longer be used on public transport, when shopping and in church services, but only medical or FFP2 masks.

Contacts: Contrary to the wishes of the Chancellery, the contact restrictions will not be tightened. Meetings with someone from another household are also allowed. According to the appeal, the number of households should be kept as constant and low as possible.

Home Office: Employers are obliged to offer employees to switch to the home office “if the activities allow it.” If the company cannot keep a distance or employees have to work in the office, employers must provide medical masks, i.e. at least surgical masks .

Curfew: There will not be a nationwide uniform curfew, as planned by the Chancellery in the meantime. Instead, the federal and state governments agreed to take tougher regional measures, even if the incidence value is below 200 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the last seven days. So far, the restriction of the range of motion to 15 km around the place of residence only applies from an incidence of 200.

Schools and daycare centers: Dealing with schools and daycare centers was controversial. The federal and state governments spent hours discussing this point in particular. The Chancellery wanted to close schools and daycare centers by February 15, the federal states wanted to remain flexible.

In the end, it was agreed that the schools and daycare centers would remain closed. Generous regulations with regard to emergency care and distance learning with presence, as practiced in some countries, should no longer exist. The Länder regulate what that means exactly. Literally it says in the decision text:

Operation of childcare facilities and schools is of utmost importance for the education of children and for the compatibility of family and work of the parents. Closed schools and childcare facilities, suspended compulsory attendance or distance teaching in schools over a longer period of time are not without negative consequences for the educational biographies and social participation of children and young people. Nevertheless, there are indications that must be taken seriously that the mutation B.1.1.7 of the SARS-CoV2 virus is also spreading more strongly among children and adolescents than is the case with the previously known virus. Therefore, an extension of the resolution from December 13th 2020 to February 14th is necessary, as well as a restrictive implementation. After that the schools will remain closed or the compulsory attendance will be suspended. In day care centers the procedure is analogous. The federal and state governments expressly thank teachers, educators and educational staff in schools and in day-care for children for overcoming the great challenges of the pandemic. Your occupational health and safety has high priority.

Here you can download the full text of the decision

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