The rapid spread of the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) in Germany over the course of the past few days is worrying. We need to do everything in our power to prevent the number of cases from spiralling out of control and to keep our health system functioning effectively. Reducing contact with people is decisive in this regard.
The Federal Government and States have agreed to expand the guidelines for reducing social contact that were brought into force on 12 March:
- Members of the public are required to reduce their contact with people other than the members of their own household to an absolute minimum.
- In public, as far as possible, they must keep a distance of at least 1.5 metres from all those other than those mentioned in point number one.
- Visiting public places is only permitted alone, with one other person who does not live in your household, or when accompanied by the members of your own household.
- Travel to work or to provide emergency care, shopping for essentials, doctors’ appointments, attendance of meetings, necessary appointments and examinations, assistance for others or sport and exercise individually out of doors, as well as other necessary activities will, of course, still be possible.
- Groups meeting for parties in public areas, homes and private institutions are unacceptable in view of the serious situation in our country. Compliance with social distancing is to be monitored by the authorities responsible for public order and the police, and violations will be penalised.
- Restaurants and cafés are to be closed. This does not include the delivery and collection of food that can be taken away and consumed at home.
- Service providers in the personal care sector such as hairdressers, cosmetics studios, massage salons, tattoo parlours and similar establishments are to be closed, because physical proximity is unavoidable in these professions. Necessary medical treatments will still be permitted.
- It is important that all enterprises, particularly those open to the public, adhere to the hygiene regulations and implement effective protective measures for staff and visitors.
- These measures will apply for at least two weeks.
The Federal Government and the States will collaborate closely on the implementation of these restrictions and the evaluation of their effectiveness. It is possible that further regulations could be implemented due to regional distinctions or epidemiological situations in states or districts.
The Federal Government and the States are conscious of the fact that these are highly restrictive measures. But they are necessary and proportional with regard to protecting the health of the population.
The Federal Chancellor and the Heads of State Government would especially like to thank the people working in the healthcare system, public services and sectors that are helping to keep everyday life going. Additional thanks go to the general public for their responsibility and their willingness to abide by these rules in order to further slow the spread of the coronavirus.