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Germany: Opposition and business disappointed by the decisions of the government and federal states regarding the lockdown

The latest findings of the German government and federal state authorities regarding further actions to combat the coronavirus epidemic have been criticized by the opposition and business. “This is a disaster for retail,” traders say. The opposition speaks of a “mockery of citizens”.

After nearly 9 hours of talks, Chancellor Angela Merkel and the prime ministers of the federal states decided late Wednesday evening to extend the lockdown in Germany until March 28. At the same time, several options for loosening the restrictions were presented, depending on the development of the situation. Read on below

Left faction leader Dietmar Bartsch told media group Funke that “the key issue of rapid immunization” against Covid-19 played too little role at the conference. “We need national vaccination efforts to leave the lockdown behind us permanently,” he assessed.

Liberal FDP leader Christian Lindner also expressed dissatisfaction. “The blockade is apparently the only possible recipe from the federal government,” Funke told the group.

The chairmen of the populist-right AfD party, Alice Weidel and Alexander Gauland, quoted by ARD television, also sharply criticized the results of the meeting between the chancellor and the prime ministers of the federal states. 

“These arrangements are a mockery of citizens who are increasingly fed up with a planless, useless shutdown policy …” Weidel said. Gauland described the re-extension of the lockdown as an “arbitrary act” and attacked the overall strategy of Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU).

“Citizens should repent that the + European solution + (joint purchases of Covid-19 vaccines by EU countries – PAP) promoted by Merkel directly led to a vaccine (campaign) disaster,” assessed Gauland.

>>> Germany: Lockdown extended to March 28  >>>

The German Association of Towns and Municipalities criticizes the adopted test strategy. “The provisions on the testing strategy (…) are too vague,” Gerd Landsberg, managing director of the German Association of Towns and Municipalities, told the Rheinische Post newspaper.

“It is true that there should be nationwide rapid testing; it is right and good. But it is a pity that it will be a few more weeks before these instruments are available in sufficient numbers nationwide, “he added.” The results of the summit are a disaster for the retail sector, “said Managing Director of the retail trade association (HDE) Stefan Genth. The ability to shop by appointment with most stores will not help, as personnel and operational costs are usually higher than sales.

Ingrid Hartges, director general of the German Hotel and Restaurant Association (DEHOGA), is also disappointed by the results of yesterday’s meeting. On the SWR radio show Aktuell said: “The decisions are disappointing, especially as no specific prospect for restaurant and hotel opening has been established.” Discussions on this will not take place until March 22.

“For many of our companies affected by the closure, the (authorities’) findings do not offer the expected opening option in the near future,” said Hans Peter Wollseifer, president of the Central Association of German Crafts.

The German Travel Association (DRV) was very frustrated. Its boss Norbert Fiebig told the Funke group that “it is unacceptable that we are forced to stay locked up for months due to the lack of testing and the too slow vaccination process.”

The first loosening of the rules of the lockdown extended to March 28 should enter into force on Monday. For starters, the strict restriction on private contacts will be relaxed: private meetings in one household with members of another family will be possible again, but the number of participants has been limited to five, not counting children under the age of 14. If the number of infections continues to decline, even more contacts with other people will be allowed over time.

Limited opportunities to ease the restrictions may be used in regions where the incidence will remain below the 7-day threshold of 100 new coronavirus infections per 100,000. residents.

From Berlin Berenika Lemańczyk (PAP)
Source: PAP,