German government unveils plan to lift most COVID restrictions by March 20

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German experts predict that the Omicron wave of COVID-19 will peak in the next few days. The federal and state governments are therefore proposing to lift almost all restrictions within the next five weeks, in a three-step process. Here’s a look at what’s on offer ahead of the February 16 coronavirus summit.

Most COVID restrictions will be lifted by March 20

Satisfied that the coronavirus situation in Germany is showing signs of easing and lessening of the pressure on the healthcare system, the federal and state governments are planning a considerable easing of restrictions in the days and weeks to come.

According to a draft resolution submitted by the SPD-led Federal States and the Chancellery ahead of Wednesday’s summit, “wide-ranging restrictions on social, cultural and economic life are to be gradually lifted by March 20.” After that, only “basic protective measures, namely the wearing of medical masks, should remain in place”.

How will restrictions in Germany be lifted?

Specifically, the government and states are considering a three-step plan:

  • The first step would see the upper limit on private gatherings of vaccinated and recovered people increased, restrictions on non-essential items lifted (as they have already been in many federal states) in all areas and replaced with mask-wearing requirements medical.
  • Second step would arrive around March 4 and would involve replacing 2G rules in restaurants and bars with 3G rules, meaning entry would be granted to those who are vaccinated, recovered or test negative. The same would apply to overnight accommodation. Nightclubs would be allowed to reopen with 2G rules no longer in place.
  • Third stepthe last stage, would take place around March 20, and would involve the lifting of all “deeper protection measures”, including the obligation to work from home.

The final plan will be decided at the summit on February 16

The announcement came as the federal government’s expert group on coronaviruses predicted that the number of coronavirus infections in Germany would soon start to fall and recommended that, as long as admissions to hospitals and units of intensive care units remain stable, “the reduction in state infection control measures seems reasonable.”

The federal government and state premiers will meet on Wednesday, February 16 to decide on Germany’s next steps. It is likely that some changes will be made to the government’s proposal. A concrete plan will be announced later on Wednesday.

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