New tight lockdown from today in Germany – Merkel: Two tough months are coming

The new strict national lockdown in Germany takes effect today – and at least until January 10 – as its partial version, implemented from November 2, did not stop the second wave of the coronavirus.

Angela Merkel warned that two very hard months are coming. Retail stores are closing, with the exception of those that sell “absolutely necessary” items: pharmacies, supermarkets, newsagents and postal services, food and animal care stores, as well as seasonal stores.

Also, from today, hairdressers, beauty centers, tattoo studios are closing in Germany. Catering businesses, which operate only to deliver packaged food, entertainment venues, culture and sports, remain closed.

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In addition, as of today, the consumption of alcohol is prohibited, something that at this time mainly concerns the mulled wine available in the traditional open-air Christmas markets, which will remain closed. Exceptions will be some markets that have chosen to operate with a “drive-through” system.

Schools close earlier

Schools, which would normally close on December 21st or 23rd, are also closed from today and students have been urged to stay home as long as possible before meeting relatives or friends during the holidays. Up to five people are allowed to meet at these gatherings, excluding children under the age of 14.

Authorities also urged citizens not to travel unnecessarily, at home or abroad. Anyone who arrives in the country should be quarantined for 10 or 5 days, provided they are tested and the result is negative.

As far as the churches are concerned, they will be able to function during the holidays, only to the extent that it is possible to observe the minimum distance of 1.5 meters between the faithful and always with the use of a protective mask.

In many of the 16 L ,nder, such as Bavaria, Thuringia and Brandenburg, additional measures are already in place, most notably a curfew at night. In Bavaria, where the pandemic is particularly high, the restriction is imposed from 21:00 to 05:00 and the fine for its violation starts from 500 euros.

For New Year’s Eve, it has already been announced that gatherings are prohibited, while the sale of sparklers has been suspended. But according to Bild, many Germans rushed to get them from neighboring Poland.

On Tuesday, the last day of the market, queues formed in stores in many parts of Germany, as citizens rushed to make last minute purchases. Nevertheless, according to the director of the German Chamber of Commerce Stefan Gedt, the situation at the end of the year “will prove to be a fiasco for many entrepreneurs.” Overall, it is estimated that retail turnover will shrink by 8% this year compared to last year. At the same time, the courier company of the German Post (DHL) expects an increase in the number of packages to be delivered by 20% compared to 2019.

Merkel is worried about the situation

Angela Merkel, during yesterday’s meeting with her party’s parliamentary group, spoke of two “very hard” months to come and said she was “worried” about the situation. He called on citizens not to ask for exceptions to the restrictions currently in force, as “this way we will need to stay longer in lockdown”. She even expressed her hope that the increased traffic in the market in recent days will not lead once again to an outbreak of cases of the new coronavirus.

The “patience” of the citizens was demanded again last night by the President of Germany, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, emphasizing that “if we lose our patience now, the virus will control us for a long time to come”. He said, however, that his personal hope stems from the common sense and solidarity shown by most citizens in dealing with the pandemic.

With information from ΑΠΕ

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