German government finalizes plan to lift most COVID restrictions on March 20

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The German federal government and the federal states agreed almost a month ago to lift almost all remaining COVID-related restrictions from March 20. The relevant legislation has now been drafted, but the COVID measures have not entirely been consigned to history: a “hotspot regulation” means that state governments will retain the power to intervene in the event of future outbreaks.

German COVID rules scrapped after March 20, but with ‘hotspot regulations’

For weeks, German politicians have debated what measures to keep on the table to limit coronavirus cases in the future, after most rules were scrapped on March 20. A bill has now been drawn up by Justice Minister Marco Buschmann and Health Minister Karl Lauterbach, and gives an idea of ​​what awaits residents of Germany.

The new regulation, which will come into force on March 20, is based on two main pillars. On the one hand, there will soon be “virtually no more restrictions” on everyday life. The two main exceptions to this will be a mask requirement on public transport and a testing requirement in certain spaces where vulnerable people are present, for example for people working or visiting care homes.

The second pillar – the compromise – is a hotspot regulation, which will be a set of measures that federal states can use in the event of new “difficult” epidemics – for example if the health system becomes overloaded, or a new variant virus changes the state of play. State parliaments could then act immediately, for example by reinstating mask or distancing requirements, 2G and 3G rules, or compulsory testing in schools.

“The ideal compromise”

“I think it’s the perfect compromise,” Buschmann said. ZDF. “On the one hand to achieve as much normalcy as possible for people and on the other hand to be able to act if there is actually a concrete dangerous situation.”

The government’s plan will now be discussed with the federal cabinet and the federated states. Their approval should come on Wednesday. After that, the legal status of most coronavirus-related restrictions will expire on March 19.

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