Germany’s parliament has approved the first set of regulations on contact restrictions that would affect the country uniformly. These are rules like; curfews and the closure of stores and schools.
The changes made to the Infection Protection Act mean that now the Federal Government is in charge of the restriction measures, unlike the situation before where each federal state would implement their own rules and restrictions.
There was much needed debate on how the guidelines would be approached and what would be implemented leading to huge disparities across state borders on what rules are in place.
Some states were choosing to open up while others would still be enforcing lockdown measures. This was despite the exponential growth of infections.
The inconsistency to which the states were run made German Chancellor Angela Merkel introduce this legislation to legally obligate states into specific action in certain circumstances.
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What if the law is not passed?
The 16 federal states could still block it on Thursday in the Bundesrat, Germany’s upper house of parliament. However, this is not expected.
If passed by both houses, affected districts will be immediately required to implement the new rules.
At some point, the law could be challenged in Germany’s Constitutional Court.
What rules will be applied in the new restriction?
- Gatherings of people from different households will be limited. Contact with one person outside of the household is permitted, with a maximum of five people being allowed together.
- Retail stores, including hardware stores, must close. Supermarkets and drug stores may remain open.
- Theatres, museums, zoos, public pools and gyms must remain closed.
- Restaurants are limited to takeout, and touristic travel in hotels is not allowed.
- Overnight curfews to be enforced between 9P.M and 5A.M in cites and districts that cross the 100-cases threshold with only essential services retaining ‘freedom’ of movement.