Germany: Gradual easing of pandemic restrictions by 20 March

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A significant gradual easing of pandemic control measures until March 20 was decided earlier tonight by the federal government and states.

In the first stage, from March 4, private gatherings will be allowed again without limitation on the number of participants – if, however, people who have not been vaccinated participate, then until March 19 the rule for meeting with up to two people from different household, with the exception of children under 14 years. Restrictions on access to retail are being lifted at the same time, with only vaccinated and sick people currently having access. However, the use of a mask will remain mandatory – with the recommendation for FFP-2.

Taking into account the situation in the hospitals, the Rule for access to vaccinated / sick and those who present a negative diagnostic test of the same day (Rule 3G) will be applied from March 4 in restaurants, while nightclubs will operate only with the 2G + rule, for access only to those vaccinated with the three doses or patients who present a negative test.

Those who have been vaccinated or recovered from a coronavirus infection can participate as spectators in major sporting or artistic events. Indoors it will be allowed to cover 60% of the capacity with a limit of 6,000 people, while outdoors the occupancy can reach 75% with a limit of 25,000 people. In these cases, too, the FFP-2 mask will be mandatory.

From March 20, all “extended” protection measures will be lifted, if the epidemiological data and the situation in the hospitals allow it, Chancellor Olaf Solz explained after the meeting with the Prime Ministers. Then the obligation to work from home is expected to be lifted.

The obligation to use a protective mask in all interiors – and in the means of transport – will remain in force after March 20, as well as the observance of distances. In addition, the rules for vaccinated / sick and presenting a negative test will continue to apply to hospitals, rehabilitation centers and nursing homes. The same possibility exists for schools, it is pointed out in the text of tonight’s decision, which also underlines that, if an increase in cases is found, the federal government can initiate a legislative process to introduce additional measures.

“We are in a very special day of the pandemic. “We can look forward to it with more confidence,” said Soltz, announcing the new decisions, which were welcomed by both state governments, many of which had already announced easing restrictions, and the market. The Retail and Foreign Trade Association described the decisions as “important and right”, noting that “they finally bring hope for an improvement in our situation”.

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