In a blue wool sweater, the top button of the shirt open, quarantine from home: Stephan Weil (SPD) spoke to the journalists connected via video conference on Thursday evening about the coming weeks in the corona pandemic. There has never been anything like it. “A press conference at my home,” said Weil, who pointed out right at the beginning what is important to him at this point and after the discussions with Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU): It is about a wise course, “based on safe Conditions “. Despite the stagnating number of cases and the lockdown extension until March 28, it is to be gradually relaxed. For example in schools and daycare centers – and that pretty soon.
Grades 5 to 7 and 12 years in an alternating model
Education Minister Grant Hendrik Tonne (SPD) said in the switch that the schools in Lower Saxony will expand their operations again from March 15. Then grades 5 to 7 and the 12th year end homeschooling and return to face-to-face teaching in the alternating model, in the so-called scenario B. One week later, on March 22nd, all schools and grades are to return to alternating lessons. For elementary school students and graduating classes, attendance is again mandatory from Monday. So far, the parents of these students could decide whether they want to send their children to school or let them study from home. “I think we are well on the way with testing, vaccinating, wearing a mask and keeping our distance,” said Tonne.
Daycare center will be in restricted regular operation from Monday
“With a view to the overall situation – diffuse infections, mutations, stagnation in the incidence – I am glad that we can take this further opening step today,” he said. The schools would be opened again carefully and gradually. “Everyone should be sure of their feet and the schools should gradually fill up.” As early as March 8th, the daycare centers will be back to normal operations. The daycare centers are basically open and offer care in regular group sizes, but the groups are not allowed to mix.
Meetings with two households possible again
As far as private meetings are concerned, Lower Saxony is also moving a little away from the strict rules for meetings, Weil said: From Monday, up to five people from two households will be able to meet privately again, said Prime Minister Weil. Children up to and including 14 years of age do not count. At the federal-state consultations, it was also agreed that couples should generally be viewed as one household. In counties with a seven-day incidence of less than 35, meetings between one’s own household and two other households with a maximum of ten people may also be permitted – children up to and including 14 years of age are not included in this either.
Easing for retail and zoos in sight
Further possible easing is linked to the seven-day incidence. With a stable value of below 50 in a region, the retail trade can reopen with a limit of one customer per ten square meters of sales area. This applies to the first 800 square meters; one additional customer per 20 square meters is permitted for an area beyond this. If the incidence is below 50, museums, galleries, zoos and botanical gardens can also reopen.
In addition, non-contact sports should then be possible in small groups of up to ten people outdoors. If the seven-day incidence remains below 50 for 14 days, it should also be possible to reopen the outdoor catering with an appointment booking. A daily updated Covid-19 test is necessary if several households share a table.
Incidence value between 50 and 100: only date shopping allowed
If the incidence value is between 50 and 100, the retail trade may initially only be opened for so-called date shopping offers. Appointments are then also mandatory for museums, galleries, zoos, botanical gardens and memorials. Individual sport, alone or in pairs, and sport in groups of a maximum of five people from two households should then also be permitted. “Up to 20 children and young people up to 14 years of age are allowed to do sports outside in groups,” says the State Chancellery.
Althusmann: “Don’t give up the Easter holidays yet”
The state government is sticking to a perspective for tourism over the Easter days. “I do not want to give up the Easter holidays on the coast, in the Harz and in the Heide and all other Lower Saxony holiday areas,” said Economics Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Bernd Althusmann (CDU). But you are still a long way from a spontaneous visit to a restaurant or a trip. However, in Lower Saxony, as agreed in the federal-state resolution on the corona crisis on Wednesday evening, outdoor catering will open before Easter – at the earliest from March 22nd – with an incidence value of below 50. The catering should be digitally supported with strict hygiene rules before Easter Tests are also given a perspective, says Althusmann.
Incidence value of the counties is decisive
As a spokesman for the State Chancellery confirmed to NDR.de, the relevant incidence value relates to the district or the urban district. But the overall situation should also be considered, i.e. the question of what it looks like in the immediate neighboring districts and regions. For example, loosening is not necessarily an automatic mechanism if the incidence in the neighboring districts is significantly higher. In this case, it could make sense to counteract shopping tourism, the spokesman said. There is also a kind of emergency brake: as soon as the seven-day incidence rises to over 50 or over 100 on three consecutive days, the previous regulations come into force again.