Chancellor Angela Merkel conferred with the premiers of the federal states on Wednesday (May 6) in a virtual meeting and they jointly decided to further relax the anti-coronavirus containment measures in force in the country.
However, the individual federal states (Länder) are responsible for implementing agreed measures in accordance with their local situations.
The federal and state governments agreed on further relaxation of the lockdown restrictions in force since 22 March as follows:
- The general contact restrictions in Germany are extended until June 5 – especially that persons must maintain a minimum distance of 1.5 metre from each other in the public while it is mandatory to wear a mouth-nose covering on public transport and while shopping.
- Members of two different households may meet. That is, members of two families, two couples or the members of two flats
- Outdoor sports and group training activities are allowed under certain conditions such as that the participants maintain between 1.5 and two meters distance from one another.
- From the second half of May, the first and second German football leagues will be allowed to start again – however without spectators.
- All shops can open again – irrespective of their sales floor space under certain conditions – such as that both staff and customers must wear masks and maintain social distance rules. There are now to be specifications as to how many customers and sales staff are allowed in a store at any given time.
- Church and religious communities have drawn up rules according to which church services or prayer meetings should again be possible.
- Playgrounds can open again under certain conditions.
- Museums, exhibitions, galleries, memorials and zoological and botanical gardens can open under certain conditions.
- Schools and day-care centres are to reopen for all. Every pupil and every pre-school child should return to school or to kindergarten before the summer holidays, but details are to be determined individually by the states. It was agreed that the number of Kita emergency care places (for the children of essential workers) will be increased everywhere by 11 May at the latest.
- Restaurants, bars, cafes and other operators in the gastronomic trade generally can open according to the decision of the respective states. The economics ministers of the federal states are striving to open the hospitality industry nationwide from 9 to 22 May.
- Major events remain prohibited until August 31. This applies to larger sporting events, folk festivals with spectators, larger concerts, festivals, village, city, street, marksmen and funfair events.
The federal states will decide against the background of their respective infection and other specific peculiarities on the gradual opening of the following remaining areas with conditions based on common hygiene and social distance guidelines of the respective ministerial conferences:
- Lectures at universities
- Transition of childcare into restricted regular operation
- Adult education centres, music schools and other public and private educational institutions outside of the regular school system
- Bars, clubs and discos
- Driving schools
- Service companies in the field of personal care such as cosmetic studios, massage practices, tattoo studios and similar companies
- Sports facilities, including swimming pools and fun pools (indoors and outdoors)
- Gyms and similar facilities
- Operation of other sports and leisure facilities as well as the resumption of competitive sports
- Smaller public or private events or celebrations as well events without a festival character
- Amusement parks and leisure activity providers (indoors and outdoors)
- Gaming halls, casinos, betting shops and similar facilities
- Prostitution centres, brothels and similar facilities
In general, measures to contain the corona pandemic are to be taken at a more localised level from now on. This is because there are regional differences in the infection rates. However, the federal states are also expected to guarantee that any necessary re-tightening of the rules is carried out should infection levels rise again. They are to ensure that in districts or cities where more than 50 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants occur within a period of seven days, systematic and consequential restrictions are immediately implemented. It is up to the federal states themselves to decide what the new requirements will look like in concrete terms.