The German government and the federal states have agreed to severe restrictions on public life in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Supermarkets and other shops that provide basic goods that are necessary for daily life will be allowed to stay open. Also excluded from mandatory closure are retail outlets for groceries and animal feed, weekly markets, delivery services, pharmacies, medical supply stores, drug stores, gas stations, banks and savings banks, post offices, laundromats, home improvement and construction supplies stores and wholesale suppliers would still be permitted to open.
For those businesses, the current ban on Sunday openings would also be lifted until further notice, according to the report. But they would also be subject to strict rules for hygiene and access; although measures are also to be taken to prevent long lines. The mass-circulation newspaper Bild first reported on the development. Restaurants and other establishments serving food would generally only be permitted to be open between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.
The purpose of the new rules is to limit social contacts in public to the highest degree possible. The rules will also affect other areas of life. In addition to the closures of public and private sporting facilities, public pools and fitness studios, playgrounds will also be closed. Gatherings in churches, mosques, synagogues and other houses of worship will also be banned.
The agreement also has provisions for the closure of numerous other facilities:
Bars and nightclubs
Theaters, opera houses, concert halls, museums
Trade fairs and conferences, exhibitions, cinemas, amusement parks and zoos
Special markets, gaming halls, casinos, betting shops and similar establishments
The ban will also reportedly be applied to meetings in clubs and other sport and leisure facilities. The same applies for classes at adult learning centers and music schools, other private and public education facilities and for bus travel.
Social contact is also to be limited through further measures:
Strict rules for visits to hospitals, nursing homes and similar establishments
Individuals who have traveled to risk areas domestically or abroad in the past 14 days will be prohibited from visiting these facilities as well as universities, schools and daycare centers.
Rules for canteens, restaurants and other places serving food and hotels will be instituted to minimize the risk of spreading the coronavirus by placing guests at a certain distance from each other, limiting the number of guests and through hygiene measures and hygiene instructions
Hotels and other accommodations in German can only be used for essential purposes and not for tourism.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is expected to make a public announcement about the new measures taken by the federal government and the states at a press conference at 6 p.m.