The lockdown in Germany will unfortunately be extended and tightened even further until 31 January, as agreed by state heads with Angela Merkel. What follows is an overview of the decisions taken by the federal and state governments. Firstly, what is new:
Contact restrictions will be tightened. In future, meetings beyond one's own household will only be allowed with one other person.
People from counties with a 7-day incidence of more than 200 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants are now only allowed to move within a radius of 15 kilometers from their place of residence. Exceptions are only made for valid reasons - tourist day trips do not count among them. Currently, more than 70 districts in Germany would be affected by these restrictions.
By mid-February at the latest, all residents of inpatient care facilities should be able to get vaccinated. By 1st February, about four million vaccine doses should have been delivered. Due to the lack of vaccines, the federal government, together with the state of Hesse, is also supporting the manufacturer Biontech so that production can begin at the new plant in Marburg before the end of February.
Child sickness benefit
Normally, each parent who is insured in a statutory health insurance fund receives children's sick pay for up to ten working days per year, single parents for up to 20 days. Temporarily, the period is to be increased to 20 or 40 days respectively, for those with statutory health insurance. The entitlement also applies if the child cannot go to school or day care because of Corona.
In future, anyone entering the country from a foreign risk area must be tested on entry or in the 48 hours prior to entry. The obligation to undergo a ten-day quarantine, which can be terminated from the fifth day onwards by a negative test, remains in place. In addition, it is once again expressly pointed out that travel to risk areas without a valid reason must be avoided at all costs. Furthermore, in addition to the testing and quarantine obligation, there is an obligation for digital entry registration for entries from risk areas....
Company canteens may at most offer food and drinks to take away. On-site consumption is prohibited.
In addition, the following extensions will be applied:
The closure of restaurants, leisure and cultural facilities, as well as large parts of the retail trade, will be extended until 31 January. In the retail sector, exceptions apply to shops that cater for daily needs. These include: grocery stores, weekly markets, pick-up and delivery services, beverage markets, health food stores, baby stores; pharmacies, medical supply stores, drugstores, opticians, hearing aid acousticians, petrol stations, car repair shops, bicycle repair shops, banks, post offices, dry cleaners, laundromats, newsagents, pet supplies, feed markets and wholesalers.
Schools will generally remain closed and compulsory attendance will be suspended. Emergency care is provided and distance learning is offered. Separate arrangements may apply to graduating classes. As always, the concrete procedure at schools and day-care centres is regulated by the separate states themselves, as it falls within their own jurisdiction.
Day-care centres also remain closed in principle. Parents will have additional opportunities to take paid leave to care of their children during this period.
Employers are urged to consider whether businesses can be closed either through company holidays or generous home office solutions.
Drinking alcoholic beverages in public spaces is prohibited. Violators will be fined.
Personal care service businesses such as hairdressing salons, beauty salons, massage parlors, tattoo studios and similar businesses will remain closed.
Medically necessary treatments, for example physiotherapy and occupational therapy as well as podiatry/foot care remain possible.
Services in churches, synagogues and mosques as well as meetings of other religious communities are only permitted if the minimum distance of 1.5 metres can be maintained. Masks are compulsory, congregational singing is prohibited. If full occupancy is expected, visitors should register.
Care for the elderly
Staff of in-patient old people's and nursing homes must be tested several times a week. In regions with increased numbers of cases, visitors must show a negative corona test.
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez