Berlin (dpa) – In the middle of the harsh Corona winter, Christmas should bring a bit of relaxation: from December 23rd and up to January 1, ten people could gather in family and friends, not including children up to 14 years old.
But before that there are even more limitations. “We need one more effort,” Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) stressed after several hours of consultation with the prime ministers of the federal states. “Patience, solidarity and discipline will be tested again.”
The reigning mayor of Berlin, Michael Müller, appealed to the people’s sense of responsibility. “Making things possible does not mean using everything that is possible,” said the SPD politician. The end of the pandemic has not yet come. “We are in a situation where in many areas it is really a matter of life and death.” Merkel said there is a lot of dependence on citizens to “remain reasonable and show solidarity”. “There is no signal to clarify everything, on the contrary.”
Bavaria’s Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) also called for restraint on the holidays and New Year’s Eve. “Anyone can help, anyone in fact,” he said. Federal and state governments want to reassess the situation before Christmas. First of all:
PART-LOCKDOWN: Bars, restaurants, cultural and leisure facilities must remain closed until at least December 20th. Wholesalers and retailers remain open, but with a mask requirement now also for shops and parking lots. In shops with a sales area of up to 800 square meters, there may be a maximum of one person per 10 square meters of sales area. At larger stores, a maximum of one person per 20 square meters of sales area may use the extra space.
CONTACT RESTRICTIONS: Private gatherings with friends, relatives and acquaintances are limited to your own household and another household and at least to five people, excluding children up to 14 years old. Schleswig-Holstein adheres to its own rules.
MOUTH AND NOSE PROTECTION: Everyone should wear a mouth and nose protector in enclosed areas open to the public. This includes public transport and lively public places – which are determined by the local authorities.
FIREWORKS: New Year’s Eve fireworks are prohibited on busy squares and streets. In principle it is “recommended” to avoid fireworks at the turn of the year. Saxony is calling on its own citizens to pay particular attention to minimum distances during the New Year’s fireworks.
CORPORATE HOLIDAY: Employers are “urgently” asked to verify that manufacturing sites may close due to corporate holidays or generous home office solutions from December 23 to January 1.
SCHOOLS AND KITAS: Daycare and schools must remain open. It was agreed that a mask is compulsory in the classroom from the 7th grade, depending on the regional Corona numbers. As a vague line, the newspaper mentions “considerably more” than 50 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants. Students who tested positive and their classmates should be immediately placed in a five-day quarantine. Anyone who subsequently tests negative can end the quarantine.
PROTECTION OF RISK GROUPS AND FAST TESTS: The protection of risk groups must be improved. For people in need of care in institutions, a minimum of 30 rapid tests per month must take place from 1 December.
RAIL TRANSPORT: To make travel safer, the “seating capacity” must be significantly increased to allow even more distance between travelers. The possibility to reserve seats should be limited in parallel. The “mask checks” are being further intensified so that more long-distance trains are checked every day.
FINANCIAL SUPPORT: Support in November for companies and institutions affected by the partial closure will continue in December. The federal government is planning a financial aid of an expected 17 billion euros, the dpa discovered.
City council chairman Burkhard Jung showed understanding for the measures. “It hurts that the partial lockdown has to continue. Now, to narrow the contacts even further, that requires a lot of us ”, he told the newspapers of the“ Funke Mediengruppe ”. “But the situation in Corona doesn’t allow anything else at the moment. The more we follow the rules now, the better we will hopefully get through the winter. He hoped it would be easier if vaccines were available.
The SPD’s health politician Karl Lauterbach told the “Funke” newspapers that the relaxation for Christmas and New Year’s Eve was risky. He hopes this will not lead to a “kickstarter for the pandemic”. “But the fear is that stricter rules for this time will not be accepted by the population either.” He admitted, “In fact, we have no way to effectively monitor regulatory enforcement. So we have to appeal to the population – and see if it works or not. “
Susanne Johna, president of the Marburger Bund doctors’ union, supported the call to stop the New Year’s fireworks. The clinics have been very stressed during the pandemic. “The doctors in the emergency room will thank everyone who doesn’t fire missiles and who do without bullies in China. Serious injuries to hands and eyes require treatment every New Year’s Eve, and pop trauma is often the consequence, ”she told” Funke “newspapers. In addition, there is pollution of the environment and health by particulate matter. “We should skip that all this time, please.” In the newspapers of the editorial network in Germany, Johna demanded that federal and state governments finally ensure that sufficient rapid tests were available for hospital staff.
Education and Science Union (GEW) chairman Marlis Tepe called the resolutions for the school sector “disappointing and risky”. She told the editorial network in Germany that she would have liked to make more decisions about changing lessons, that is, dividing classes into groups of students who would then be taught alternately at home and at school.