Berlin – Сgrowing infections, German authorities announced on Wednesday new restrictions and a partial blockade for November to try to bring the spread of COVID-19 back under control. From Monday, bars, cinemas and clubs will be closed, restaurants will be limited to delivery and services, and people will only be allowed to meet outside with members of another household in groups of no more than 10.
The goal is for family and friends to meet again during the Christmas season without too many restrictions. But for that to happen, the federal and state governments believe that everyone must limit their activities and social contacts.
German Chancellorcalled on the population to stay at home. “People should, in principle, refrain from unnecessary travel and visits, even visiting relatives,” she told a news conference.
In neighboring France, President Emmanuel Macron announced that the national lock would begin at midnight on Thursday and last until December 1 at the earliest. Bars and restaurants will be closed and public gatherings will be banned.
New rules in Germany follow a jump in coronavirus infections in October, with the country breaking records for the daily number of new cases. On Friday, the country reported a record high of more than 22,000 cases; the second largest number of more than 13,000 cases was reported on Tuesday.
The rules announced on Wednesday are similar to the spring lock restrictions and will remain in effect until the end of the month.
Schools and crèches will remain open. Church services are also not affected by the new measures and can continue if hygiene rules are followed.
Shopping stores will remain open, but there are limits to how many customers can be inside at a time. Hairdressers will remain open, but beauty and tattoo parlors will be closed because social distancing cannot be maintained.
In addition to cinemas, other entertainment venues will be closed, including amusement parks, concert halls, operas and theaters. Gyms and swimming pools will also be closed, and professional sports are only allowed without spectators.
Merkel said hotels would only be accessible for “absolutely necessary” and non-tourist purposes.
The chancellor said the restrictions should bring the spread of the virus back under control. The outbreak reached a point where 75% of infections could not be traced to their source.
Germany hadcompared to other European countries, but now employees are worried that the healthcare system will collapse if the number of infections continues to rise.
Elaine Kobe contributed to this report.