Stricter rules when shopping, recommendation for skiing holidays: which corona decisions have already been made, which are still controversial – politics


On Wednesday from 2 p.m., the federal and state governments want to agree on how to proceed together to combat the corona pandemic. Some decisions are still open. The regulations should initially apply until December 20th.

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Angela Merkel and the regional leaders have agreed on this in a joint draft:

  • Shop: The mask requirement will be expanded and will in future also apply in front of retail shops and in parking lots. Christmas shopping should be done during the week if possible. And: In shops there may not be more than one customer per 20 square meters of sales area – from a total area of ​​800 square meters. This is a significant tightening: Up until now, one customer was allowed to stay in a smaller sales area of ​​10 square meters.
  • Meet with others: It is planned that only two households with a maximum of five people will be allowed to meet in their own apartment. Young people under the age of 14 are exempt from the requirements. So far, a total of ten adults are allowed, there has been no explicit restriction with regard to the apartment, just a recommendation. There should be a special regulation for Christmas: then almost the old and currently valid regulations should apply for a short time. Ten adults from different households should then gather around the Christmas tree over the holidays.
  • Schools: According to the will of the Federal Chancellery and the state chiefs, the mask requirement should also apply in the schoolyard and in class for students from grade 7 in regions with an incidence of “significantly more than 50 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants” – with the exception of schools in which there are none Infections with the coronavirus. The Christmas holidays should be on December 19th. begin – except probably in Bremen and Thuringia. The obligation to wear a mask “can” also be introduced for grades 5 and 6. In addition, in the future – probably – an entire class will have to be quarantined at home as soon as there is a confirmed corona case in the group.
  • New Year’s fireworks: New Year’s Eve fireworks are allowed in the contemplated infection control measures, but it is forbidden “in busy squares and streets” “to avoid larger groups”.
  • Vacation: According to Tagesspiegel information, skiing holidays should be avoided until the beginning of January. There will probably not be a ban, but an appeal to citizens to renounce it. The further procedure should be discussed at European level, as it was said. Corresponding discussions would be held between the countries concerned.
  • Cultural events: Cultural institutions like Museums, cinemas and theaters According to the plans, they should remain closed, but “as soon as this is possible in view of the infection situation”, the countries should be able to open them again.
Cinemas are expected to remain closed as long as the number of infections is high.Photo: dpa / Marijan Murat

At the same time, a number of questions are still open before the meeting of the top federal and state levels:

  • Schools: It is still a matter of dispute when it comes to hybrid teaching. On the one hand, this is likely to depend on a value of new infections per 100,000 new infections previously designated as “X”. On the other hand, it is still unclear whether the regulation applies from grade 7. And it is also still unclear how much money will flow into school traffic: 2.5 billion euros from regionalization funds are considered certain, but further federal funds may be added.
  • Restaurants and hotel accommodation: If you want to travel as a tourist, your cards are bad – the hotels remain closed for him or her. Restaurants and cafes will also remain closed, only a take-away or bring service is possible. It is still a matter of dispute whether this regulation should also last beyond New Year’s Eve.
  • Train journeys: The exact rules for rail travel are still being discussed. In future, however, rail passengers will probably only be able to reserve seats by the window, with a double seat only one seat and with seating groups with a table only the diagonally opposite seats. In compartments with six seats, only two seats could be reserved. For customers traveling together, “areas would be provided in which seats next to each other can also be reserved.” In this way, people from the same household would be able to “travel together and not spread out on the train”. Mask controls in long-distance traffic are to be intensified and seating capacity increased. And: the seat reservation is probably only “recommended”.
  • Test options: It is still unclear whether the federal and state governments actually offer “generous test options” so that as much as possible can be tested for cold symptoms, especially around Christmas time.
  • Economic protection of hospitals: There is still no agreement on exactly how the clinics should be financially supported. But it is quite possible that they will receive three billion euros, of which two billion will be brought into the budget for 2021.

However, the latest draft resolution also includes a back door for the prime ministers: The states may deviate from these and other restrictions if their infection numbers slide below a critical value. The decisive factor for such regional easing is an incidence “of well below 50 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants within 7 days”.

According to the plans, such an opening should be made dependent, among other things, on avoiding contacts, ventilating rooms well and avoiding group formation. For so-called Corona hotspots with particularly high numbers of infections, however, the countries could tighten their regional restrictions. The draft resolution also states that the federal and state governments want to agree again on how to proceed in the corona pandemic before Christmas on December 15.

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