Chancellor Merkel has agreed with the Prime Ministers of the federal states on Corona requirements until December 20 – as well as on special regulations for Christmas and New Year’s Eve. These are the results of the deliberations of the federal and state governments.
Contact regulations and partial lockdown
From December 1st onwards, only five people from their own household and at most one other household may come together at private get-togethers. Children up to 14 years of age are exempt. Schleswig-Holstein does not accept this tightening. The five-person rule is not limited in time and is only relaxed from December 23rd to January 1st. These measures would be “regularly assessed” at future federal-state conferences.
Exceptions for the holidays
From December 23rd to January 1st, the upper limit for private “indoor and outdoor” gatherings is ten. Again, children up to the age of 4 are not counted. The number of households from which the people come is not restricted. The Christmas holidays are brought forward to December 19th, although Bremen and Thuringia reserve the right to make different arrangements. This, as well as largely avoiding private meetings shortly before Christmas, should help as few people as possible unwittingly carry the virus into Christmas.
On New Year’s Eve, fireworks are only banned “in busy squares and streets”. Otherwise it is only “recommended to avoid New Year’s Eve fireworks”.
Mask also in rooms
Every person has to wear a mouth and nose cover in publicly accessible, closed rooms, as well as on public transport. This also applies to “open-air locations where people are either confined or not only temporarily”. Local authorities determine this.
Schools and daycare centers
Childcare facilities and schools will remain open. Face-to-face teaching in schools continues to have “top priority”. In special infection hotspots with more than 200 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants within seven days, “(…) more extensive teaching measures in the older grades from grade 8 (except final grades) should be implemented specifically for the school”, such as hybrid or alternating classes.
Rapid antigen tests are to be increasingly used in schools to uncover chains of infection. In regions with “significantly more” than 50 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants within seven days, a mask requirement applies to “all persons” from class 7, with the restriction: “Schools without infection can be exempted from this.”
Restaurants and theaters remain closed
The company closings in the catering and leisure sector, which were decided on October 28 and initially limited to the end of November, will be extended until December 20. The federal and state governments assume that “comprehensive restrictions will be required by the beginning of January (particularly in the area of restaurants and hotels)”. They want to “do another review and evaluation before Christmas”.
Fewer customers allowed in stores
Wholesalers and retailers will remain open, but the number of customers will be more limited: In stores with a sales area of up to 800 square meters, a maximum of one person per ten square meters may be present. For larger shops of 801 square meters or more, the regulation with one person per 20 square meters is even stricter. The federal government had called for more extensive rules, while the states only provided this for corona hotspots with high numbers of infections.
The mask requirement now also applies in front of shops and in parking lots.
A new threshold of 200 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants within seven days was agreed, from which additional restrictions apply in areas “with particularly extreme infection situations” as part of a hotspot strategy. These include additional regulations in the area of schools and retail trade as well as more extensive contact restrictions. According to Chancellor Angela Merkel, this currently affects all of Berlin and 62 districts in Germany. Countries are also allowed to deviate regionally from the nationwide uniform rules if the number of their new infections per 100,000 inhabitants is well below 50 for at least one week within seven days and the trend is falling further.
The home quarantine is usually set for ten days instead of the previous 14 days. However, this assumes that a rapid antigen test turns out negative.
The billions in aid decided for November for companies, businesses, self-employed, associations and institutions that are affected by temporary closings will be “extended on the basis of the November aid” until December 20th. That would mean that they would get up to 75 percent of their turnover from the same month last year – December 2019 – reimbursed from taxpayers’ money. The government estimates the possible costs at up to 20 billion euros. It is difficult to say exactly: the costs for November were initially estimated at up to ten billion euros – now the resolution speaks of 15 billion euros without any specific applications.
For sectors of the economy that are not affected by closings, but “foreseeably will have to accept considerable restrictions in their business operations in the coming months”, the federal government will “improve the conditions for the sectors mainly affected” in the bridging aid III set up until the end of June 2021. This applies in particular to the culture and events industry, self-employed people and the travel industry.
Social guarantee for the coming year
The federal government promises that the contributions to pension, health, unemployment and long-term care insurance will be stabilized “at a maximum of 40 percent”. Any additional financial requirements of the social security funds are to be covered by the federal budget until 2021. In this context, the federal government will “examine how a tax-financed stabilization” of the contributions to the health insurance and the artists’ social insurance could look.
Further articles on the coronavirus
We have created a news blog. In view of the large amount of information, this provides an overview of the most important current developments.
Numbers and dates
+ Current developments: Figures on the coronavirus in Germany (as of November 26)
+ Situation in Germany: What does the rapid increase in new infections and the incidence value mean? (Status: 10/22)
Test and protection
+ Protection: This is how the vaccination against the coronavirus should be organized (status: 20.11.)
+ Tests for the coronavirus: when, where and how? (Status: October 29th)
+ How useful are mass tests for the whole population? (As of November 15)
+ Corona infection: how reliable are the tests? (As of November 18)
+ Treatment: This is how far vaccine research against the coronavirus is (as of November 16)
+ Remdesivir and Co: How far is the search for drugs against Covid-19? (As of October 16)
+ Infection: What do we know so far about reinfections and immunity against the coronavirus? (Status: 10.10.)
+ Hospitals: What the increase in corona infections means for them (as of November 14th)
Contagion and Transmission
+ Transmission: how contagious are children? (As of November 17)
+ Transfer: What role do aerosols play (as of 10.10.)
+ Face masks: What you should know about protective masks (as of October 29th)
+ Excess mortality: how deadly is the coronavirus really? (As of November 14th)
+ Travel warning: The current list of risk areas (as of November 13th)
You can also find the Dlf news on Twitter at: @DLFNews.
This message was broadcast on November 26th, 2020 on Deutschlandfunk.