Germany to close most stores from December 16 to January 10: draft government proposal

FRANKFURT: Germany plans to close most stores from Wednesday to January 10 as it tightens restrictions on the coronavirus and tries to curb the spread of the disease, according to a draft government proposal seen by Reuters on Sunday.

The draft was prepared ahead of a meeting later in the day between Chancellor Angela Merkel and state leaders. She has favored stricter pan-German measures, but was previously unable to obtain agreement from the nation’s 16 states.

However, some states have since cracked down on their own and momentum has built up to support stricter harmonized measures.

The draft proposal would allow only essential stores, such as supermarkets and pharmacies, as well as banks to remain open.

Schools will also be basically closed during the period and employers will be required to shut down operations or have employees work from home, according to the draft. The sale of fireworks will be prohibited.

Germany has been in partial lockdown for six weeks, with bars and restaurants closed, while shops and schools have remained open. Some regions have already imposed tougher measures as infections increased.

More social contact in the run-up to the Christmas holidays means “the number of cases is now increasing again.”

“Therefore, more steps need to be taken to restrict contacts,” the draft said.

New infections and daily deaths have reached records in recent days, and more politicians have sounded the alarm.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany rose by 20,200 to 1,320,716, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Sunday. The reported death toll rose from 321 to 21,787, the tally showed.