Germany extends lockdown until 7 March, with one exception: hairdressers
At a press conference given in Berlin this evening after a day of negotiation and collaboration among the Regierungschefinnen, the Regierungschefs der Länder and the Bundeskanzlerin, an extension to the lockdown was announced for Germany, with one general exception: hairdressers may open on 1 March as long as they comply with strict hygiene regulations.
"The far-reaching contact regulations have led to a significant decline in the incidence of infection in recent weeks. For the first time since the end of October 2020, it has been possible to reduce the number of new infections per 100,000 inhabitants nationwide to a value of less than 80 within seven days. For some federal states, an incidence below 50 is already in sight, although not yet achieved. This was made possible by the fact that the residents reduced their contacts even further and bore the restrictions on life in a disciplined and level-headed manner even over this long period. For this, the Bundeskanzlerin and the heads of government of the Länder are very grateful.
At the same time, variants of the coronavirus variants are spreading. In particular, such mutations, which are more contagious than the original type of the virus, are spreading particularly quickly and require considerable additional efforts to reduce the infection figures again. Therefore, contact restrictions must be maintained in principle over the next few weeks. Residents are urged to continue to limit contacts to an absolute minimum, even in areas where the incidence of infection is steadily decreasing. The principle "we stay at home" remains the essential tool in the fight against the pandemic and saves lives every day.
Wearing medical masks indoors significantly reduces the incidence of infection – it is therefore strongly recommended, unless already legally required, in all situations where two or more people come together indoors for both parties to wear a medical face mask.
Steps towards reopening shops and locations must be taken cautiously and gradually in order to successfully contain the infection. No one would be helped if too far-reaching or too rapid openings necessitated renewed restrictions on public life because the infection incidence accelerated again. In the coming weeks, the federal and state governments will continue to coordinate opening steps together. They will be primarily oriented towards the national and regional infection situation.
It is a great achievement of the scientific community and the research-based vaccine manufacturers, especially from Germany, that vaccines of various types are available within a year after the start of the pandemic and that more will be soon. They deserve great thanks and respect for this.
Rapid vaccination of the population is the prerequisite for effectively combating the virus in the long term. As soon as vaccination can be offered to all residents, there is a perspective for a normalisation of our daily lives and a return to a life without pandemic-related restrictions. The Bund and the Länder will therefore continue to make every effort to vaccinate as many residents as possible, as quickly as possible.
Against this background, the Bundeskanzlerin and the Regierungschefinnen and Regierungschefs der Länder agree:
the existing decisions of the Bundeskanzlerin and the Regierungschefinnen and Regierungschefs der Länder shall remain valid, unless this decision stipulates otherwise. The Länder will adapt their Land ordinances accordingly and extend them until 7 March 2021.
it remains particularly important to reduce the number of contact moments and to comply with the corona regulations in order to contain the spread of the virus:
The Bundeskanzlerin and the Regierungschefinnen and Regierungschefs der Länder urge all residents to keep all contact moments to the absolute minimum in the coming weeks and in particular to avoid indoor gatherings. Private gatherings continue to be permitted only among members of one's own household and with one other person not living in the household. Keeping the number of households from which the other persons come as constant and as small as possible ("social bubble") contributes significantly to reducing the risk of infection.
Medical masks (i.e. surgical masks or also respirators according to the FFP2 standard or comparable) have a higher protective effect than everyday masks. Therefore, it is compulsory to wear medical masks in public transport and in shops. In general, the use of medical masks is recommended indoors.
Hygiene standards must be consistently implemented in all facilities and, if necessary, adapted against the background of new findings – for example regarding virus mutations.
Non-essential private trips and visits – including those of relatives – must continue to be refrained from. This also applies domestically and to supra-regional day-trip excursions.
In view of the pandemic situation, further reduction of relevant contacts at the workplace is necessary. To this end, employers must allow employees to work from home, provided that the activities allow it. This will reduce contacts at the place of work, but also on the way to work. The the Bundeskanzlerin and the Regierungs- chefinnen and Regierungschefs der Länder call on employers to apply the SARS-CoV-2 Occupational Health and Safety Ordinance consistently and to implement it through generous home office solutions, greatly reducing the need for on-site staff presence or to keep offices closed altogether and ask staff to take advantage of the offer of working from home. Where working from home is not possible, medical masks should be worn whenever several people are in the same room in work location.
Children and young people, like their parents, are particularly affected by the restrictions. In order to ensure education and the future of our children and our youth, openings in the care and education sector are therefore a priority. This area is therefore to be the first to be gradually reopened. Masks, ventilation and hygiene measures will still be necessary. Medical masks should be used wherever possible. Increasingly, rapid tests should also enable safe teaching and care and education in childcare facilities and in childcare for children and minimise infection risks. In view of the high social importance of education and care for children, adolescents and their parents, and in view of the difficulty of implementing distance rules in the day-to-day work of childcare centres and primary schools, the Bund and the Länder request the Federal Minister of Health, in consultation with the GMK, to examine whether in the next update of the Coronavirus Vaccination Ordinance childcare workers and primary school teachers can be vaccinated earlier than previously planned - in category 2 with high priority. Within the framework of their cultural sovereignty, the Länder decide on the gradual return to face-to-face teaching and the expansion of childcare provision. At the same time, they will increase their efforts to promote the digitisation of learning to flank part-time teaching and the gradual ramp-up. The Bund supports this through the Digitalpakt Schule (Digital Pact for Schools), including immediate programmes for end devices for pupils and teachers.
Hairdressing establishments can resume operations from 1 March 2021 subject to conditions on hygiene, controlling access with reservations and using medical face masks. Against the background of the importance of hairdressers for personal hygiene and the fact that they have now been closed for some time, it appears necessary to enable their use, as significant parts of the population, especially older people, are dependent on them."
More specifically, the updates to the corona regulations in Nordrhein-Westfalen are:
Schools and day-care centres in NRW will be allowed to open gradually from 22 February. This was announced by NRW Ministerpräsident Armin Laschet (CDU). The date will be coordinated with Hesse, Niedersachsen and Rheinland-Pfalz.
NRW Ministerpräsident Armin Laschet (CDU) warns against hasty relaxations. Everything must be done to prevent a third wave, Laschet said after the federal-state consultations. Even if the infection figures are falling, he said, one must remain in a process of weighing things up. Closing is relatively easy, reopening is a "very laborious and responsible process".