Angela Merkel will meet the prime ministers of the federal states in Berlin today. The subject of the meeting will be further restrictions in connection with the spread of the coronavirus in Germany. Information about the new restrictions has been leaked to the press.
Chancellor Merkel will meet with prime ministers of the federal states today, on October 14 in Berlin in the afternoon. Here are the highlights of the debate:
The federal government intends to extend the obligation to wear face masks in places where the number of new infections exceeds 35 per 100,000 inhabitants of a given region per week. A mandatory mask is to be introduced where people are close to each other or for a longer period of time, according to a draft resolution prepared for consultations between Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) and the heads of federal state governments, which was submitted to a German press agency.
Uniform penalties for failure to wear face masks throughout the country
In Bavaria, people who refuse to wear masks have to pay a fine of 250 euros, and in Saxony only 60 euros. The amount of the fines varies across Germany. This will be another topic to discuss.
Family events and mass events
In addition, the same guidelines for the number of new infections per number of inhabitants will also apply to the number of participants in the events. At the moment it is not known yet how much it will be. During today’s meeting, the number of participants in the ceremony with family or friends will probably be determined.
Help for the German economy
In addition to introducing new restrictions, the debate will focus on helping the sectors of the German economy severely affected by the coronavirus crisis, which may suffer even more with the introduction of further restrictions. The federal government wants to increase aid funds for these sectors.
In the autumn economic report published on Wednesday (October 14, 2020), leading economic research institutes in Germany lowered their gross domestic product forecasts by more than one percentage point to minus 5.4 percent. Next year, scientists expect an increase of 4.7 percent; in spring they assumed minus 4.2 percent. in 2020 and an increase of 5.8 percent in 2021.
The fight against the virus pandemic and the restrictions on public life, production and the activities of many service providers crippled the economy more than expected. In the second quarter of 2020, German GDP fell by a record 9.7 percent. A second wave with more infections and constraints could further weaken the economic recovery.
The dispute over the prohibition of accommodation
More and more cities and regions in Germany exceed 50 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants in seven days. As a result, several federal states have banned hoteliers and guesthouse owners from accommodating travelers from local high-risk areas of contracting the coronavirus. Another part of the federal states does not agree with the ban. They are opposed to its introduction of North Rhine-Westphalia, Berlin, Bremen and Thuringia. There, the ban was not introduced at all. This regulation sparked discussions in many federal states in connection with the autumn holiday. The issue of the accommodation ban will be raised in today’s debate.
Travelers returning from high-risk areas
New quarantine time and “free testing” requirements are planned. So far, travelers returning from high-risk areas must be tested for coronavirus up to 48 hours before or after entering the country, and then remain in quarantine pending a result. At the moment, the quarantine lasts 14 days. In the future, it should be reduced to 10 days. The “free test” should only be possible from the fifth day of quarantine.