Germany will impose lockdown, starting next week and continuing through the Christmas period, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Sunday, after agreeing to stricter measures with state governments to restrict a wave of coronavirus cases.
As of next Wednesday, all non-essential shops, services and schools will close until January 10, and Christmas Day gatherings will be cut from 10 people to only five from two different households.
This week, Merkel made an impassioned plea for Germans to limit their social contacts ahead of the holidays: despite the country’s respected health system and early success in containing the virus, a recent partial lockdown has failed to stop the second-wave spike. Germany reported record daily deaths on Friday, with 598 fatalities recorded in a 24 hours.
The new measures are aimed at traditional festivities: Christmas church services will be subject to prior registration with no singing allowed, alcohol is to be banned from all public spaces and an annual New Year’s Eve fireworks display will be canceled. Some states are also taking further steps, such as Bavaria, which will have a 9 p.m. curfew.
German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz has promised economic help for all businesses shattered by the lockdown.