It’s probably going to be a really “silent night” in Germany as the country is set to go into a hard national lockdown from Wednesday until at least January 10.
Germany is trying to tackle the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, which has already overwhelmed the country’s health system.
“I would have wished for lighter measures. But due to Christmas shopping the number of social contacts has risen considerably,” Chancellor Angela Merkel told journalists following a meeting with leaders of the country’s 16 federal states.”
“There is an urgent need to take action,” she added.
The new lockdown will cause a major disruption for retailers, the education system and the public in the lead-up to the Christmas holidays in Germany.
From Wednesday, all non-essential shops, services and schools will close until January 10. Christmas Day gatherings will be reduced from 10 people t only five from two different households. Fireworks are also banned on New Year’s Eve.
The new measures will affect traditional Christmas festivities. Christmas church services will be subject to prior registration, with no singing allowed. Alcohol will be banned from all public spaces.
Some states are also implementing additional measures such as early curfews.
The German government vowed to support affected companies with a total of around 11 billion euros a month. Businesses affected by the lockdown may receive up to 90 percent of fixed costs, Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said.
Despite the country’s early success in containing the coronavirus, a recent partial lockdown has failed to stop the second-wave surge. Germany reported record daily deaths on Friday, with 598 fatalities tallied in a span of 24 hours.
On Sunday, Germany recorded 20,200 new coronavirus infections – 2,000 more than Sunday last week – according to the Robert Koch Institute, the country’s agency for disease control. The overall infection number stands at 1,320,716. The death toll rose by 321 to 21,787, data showed.