Klaas Heufer-Umlauf about Corona campaign – politics

The federal government calls on the population to stay at home as much as possible in order to reduce contacts. Sometimes she does it very seriously, for example in health ministerial press conferences or chancellor podcasts. Above all, the government is trying to convince the younger part of Germans to stay away from home with commercials. Under the title “Special Heroes”, the campaign was broadcast online in mid-November. In the videos, older people look back on the Corona winter 2020 from a distant future and tell how they fought the second wave as young people – in which they did absolutely nothing. We “were lazy like raccoons,” it says in one of the spots. The reactions are divided. On the one hand, there was sharp criticism of the flippant tone of voice on a serious problem, on the other hand, the federal government is praised for its surprising speech, and the spots spread faster than expected. The production company of Joko Winterscheidt and Klaas Heufer-Umlauf, better known as “Joko & Klaas”, is behind the campaign.

SZ: Mr. Heufer-Umlauf, by no means all Germans seem to find it funny that the federal government has recently tried to advertise its Corona measures with humor.

Klaas Heufer-Umlauf: Humor is always very individual. You can’t force anyone to find this or that funny. Just because someone doesn’t exactly share this sense of humor doesn’t mean they don’t have one.

In the chorus of critics there are also historians who find the game with the motif “Grandpa talks about his heroic deeds in the war” strange.

Things are drawn into it that are really not there. Somebody simply talks about a challenge from the past that has now been overcome. The bite reflex when the sender is the federal government is remarkable. But that attracts a certain amount of attention, and that has its good points.

The campaign doesn’t have to worry about attention. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recommended you on Twitter, and the British BBC is suddenly jealous of the Germans’ humor.

Nice. Then they clearly realized that this funny mood can also be understood as cautious optimism. If we’re all in a good mood and we don’t have a pandemic, then it’s very easy to add a sense of humor. But above all, humor is what you do when it doesn’t seem that funny.

Don’t you have to take Corona seriously?

Of course, you have to take Corona seriously. We are in a very special situation, but that may also require different political communication. An address with which you accept that you might have to take something away. But with which you create an eye level and a closeness to people who otherwise do not exist.

As a rule, politics is criticized not for its cocky language, but for its overly cautious language.

Often rightly so. You are really amazed when suddenly a politician speaks in such a way that it doesn’t sound like he’s asking for a PDF. Then you immediately think: there is a person! A person can take me seriously. But a person can also have a sense of humor, for example.

But that can also go wrong.

But it is not a solution if politics by sheer fear of a discourse in platitudes or commonplace talk past people. It also happens that parties use words like “justice” to march into election campaigns. What should you say? Look, now it’s evidently about justice lately here in Germany.

What’s So Wrong With Justice?

Nothing, absolutely nothing. That is completely invulnerable and risk-free. Nobody can say anything against that. However, it does not reveal anything about the concrete political statement or intention. As a citizen, I always know that justice has always been the goal. So what was I being told here anyway?

How did you convince the Chancellor that the joke of the campaign is worth taking in too?

We didn’t run to sell something to the government that it actually doesn’t want. It was a joint decision.

Explain again for everyone who did not understand the idea behind the campaign.

We haven’t thought so much about how to kick as many people as possible in the shins. It’s about how you can donate a little bit of hope without actually knowing how it all ends with this pandemic. We therefore open up the story that it will be over at some point and that we will then have contributed massively to ensuring that it passed, namely by foregoing unnecessary contacts. That will probably have been part of the truth one day, if we stick to it. But that is only a very small piece of the mosaic of the entire government communication in this crisis. Specifically, the aim is to motivate those who have the opportunity to forego certain unnecessary contacts to do so, as this will make the lives of those who do not have this opportunity safer. Staying at home these days also means taking responsibility for those who cannot stay at home. But of course our spots are much louder than, for example, a prevention campaign by the health department. Because, of course, we have to rumble a lot more in our young target group to get it across.


Sport in times of Corona: the price of loneliness

FAul like raccoons – this is how the federal government describes, looking back at the lockdown, how today’s young people become heroes, one has to say: will have become. The video clip from the future ironically advertises the horizontal existence on the sofa. In order to fight the virus, as translated by the lockdown that was extended last week, the boys in particular should turn into couch potatoes. In any case, sport is not allowed outside of school, unless you are trotting through the area alone or doing pull-ups in the fresh air.

The instinct to play and the urge to move, ambition and concern for the stomach, legs and buttocks have kept millions and millions in motion. Germany’s 90,000 sports clubs have 27 million memberships, and many, many swimmers, cyclists and runners can do without a club. You all know that the limitation of the restrictions until shortly before Christmas does not mean that the clubs will be allowed to reopen their halls in January. As the permanent residents of upholstered furniture increase, the number of members in the sports clubs is decreasing.

Ten to fifteen percent is the forecast, which corresponds to up to four million memberships, could be lost to organized sport by next year. As high as the number, as great as the loss, which with an annual contribution of, say, 150 euros could add up to 600 million euros; Not counting the failures due to a lack of entry fee for the people’s and New Year’s Eve runs, unsold tickets, unsold sausages and unsaved cakes. This is not a wave of exit, but rather the absence of new entrants with slightly increased fluctuation.

There was no howling, no trace of resistance and rebellion. Sport is like that: rules are followed. The loss statement ultimately also means: 85 to 90 percent of the members stay. This loyalty is due to the commitment of the clubs. They stay on their toes by bringing sporting offers such as human affection into the apartments on all channels. Club sport has mastered the need for flexibility of its members. Soon he is faced with the challenge of making sport a community experience again. And to prove: Raccoons are also pets.


Home office tax flat rate of 5 euros per day


Employees who work in the home office should be relieved.

(Photo: dpa)

Berlin The grand coalition has agreed on relief for workers who have to work a lot from home in the corona pandemic. For them there should be a tax lump sum of five euros per day, a maximum of 600 euros per year, it was said in coalition circles.

In addition, Labor Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) has submitted his draft law for the controversial Mobile Work Act to the departmental vote. The originally planned legal right to work from home for up to 24 days per year is no longer included in the new draft that is available to the Handelsblatt. Employees who want to work mobile from time to time should be given the right to discuss this with their employer.

The Association of Taxpayers welcomed the plan to reduce the tax burden on employees working from home. “Employees who work at home and therefore rely on private resources must receive tax compensation,” said Reiner Holznagel, President of the Taxpayers’ Association, the Handelsblatt. “Tax law must recognize this as well as the flat-rate distance allowance.”

More on the subject:

The leaders of the Union and SPD have discussed the key points of the home office flat rate. Coalition circles said that the budget for the tax authorities was one billion euros. In order to comply with this, it is provided that taxpayers can claim a maximum of 600 euros per year.

The home office flat rate should also be offset against the employee flat rate of 1000 euros. This would treat the lump sum like other advertising expenses. Only those who come up with more than 1,000 euros in advertising costs would benefit.

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Protective equipment is stored at 19 locations

FThe Federal Government will provide one billion euros in the coming year for stocking protective equipment at 19 decentralized locations. Of this, the Federal Ministry of Health will receive 750 million euros for the construction of the warehouse, with the remainder being used by the Ministry of Economic Affairs to ensure that the stored material increasingly comes from German production. So far, many products have come from Asia, especially China.

The necessary total amount has already been entered in the federal budget, and higher three-digit million amounts are expected for the following years, said Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) on Monday after the meeting of the Corona cabinet. This had previously passed a draft resolution from Spahn’s house to set up a “National Health Protection Reserve”.

As a consequence of the corona pandemic, this envisages working more closely with the federal states, but also with other European countries. The decision was made to build up decentralized reserves for masks, gowns, gloves, ventilators, medication and other items and to examine further requirements by the end of next year together with logistics partners from industry and federal organizations such as the Technical Relief Organization.

Spahn: “We want to be better prepared in the future”

In the tussle with the federal states about the distribution of the corona costs, the billing for personal protective equipment is also to be reorganized. This emerges from the draft resolution for the cabinet meeting that the FAZ has received. It is about a “responsible distribution of costs between the federal government and the states and, if necessary, other corporations and consumers,” says the paper.

In future, the federal government no longer wants to invoice the equipment it supplies to the federal states individually and only after it has been handed over. Rather, the federal states should pay a so-called crisis prevention contribution as an “overall compensation”. This is based on the Königstein key, which is also used in other joint financing projects and takes into account both the number of residents and the tax revenue of the federal states.

In the new concept, Berlin assures that “the quantities actually used by the federal states are adequately mapped”. Individual sums or amounts are not mentioned. Spahn said that, as in disaster control, there is always a country component, with which the further procedure will be coordinated closely. The same applies to the European partners. With these, Spahn wants to establish a “European health reserve” into which the new German camps will flow. “We want to and will be better prepared in the future for a pandemic of the century of this magnitude,” the minister assured.

Criticism of the countries

The chairman of the health committee in the Bundestag, Erwin Rüddel (CDU), welcomed the establishment of the national health reserve, “so that we are better equipped in the future against crises that might arise”. But Rüddel expressed clear criticism of the countries. “Disaster control is actually clearly the responsibility of the federal states,” he told the FAZ. “If we are going to deal with the corona pandemic, we will therefore also have to investigate why the states have not fulfilled their tasks.”


US Army drone operations: Ramstein can stay

Are the measures taken by the Federal Government against any drone attacks in Yemen that may violate international law? Yes, says the Federal Administrative Court.

Attorney Andreas Schüller in court on Wednesday Photo: Jan Woitas / dpa

KARLSRUHE taz | The federal government has campaigned sufficiently for the lawful use of the US airbase in Ramstein in Rhineland-Palatinate. Three Yemeni plaintiffs could not demand further measures – in particular the closure of the airbase. This has now been decided by the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig in a spectacular legal dispute.

The three men from Yemen had lost relatives in allegedly illegal US drone strikes. With the support of the Berlin human rights organization ECCHR, the Yemenis have been suing the Federal Republic in German administrative courts since 2014. The federal government should ensure that they no longer have to fear illegal drone attacks in the future.

In March 2019 they achieved an unexpected success at the Higher Administrative Court (OVG) Münster. The court found that there was “weighty evidence” that the US drone strikes in Yemen were at least partially in breach of international law. The US could not invoke a worldwide “war on international terrorism”.

In addition, there is no right to “preventive self-defense”. The USA could only act on the side of the Yemeni government in the civil war there against al-Qaida against specific al-Qaida fighters.

Just a stream of data

The Münster judges stated at the time that the US air base in Ramstein was a “necessary link” between the drone control in the USA and the drone in Yemen because of the curvature of the earth. So Germany has a duty to protect Yemeni citizens against illegal drone attacks.

The federal government has not yet “adequately” fulfilled this duty of protection. The Münster judges also saw no duty to terminate the contracts on the basis of which Ramstein is operated.

The Federal Government’s revision of the Münster judgment was successful. The Federal Administrative Court overturned the OVG decision and rejected the Yemenis’ lawsuit in its entirety.

The Leipzig judges found it questionable whether Germany actually has an obligation to protect the Yemeni population here. On the one hand, the connection to Germany is too low if only one data stream flows through Ramstein. A “purely technical transmission process” is not sufficient.

USA assured legal operations

On the other hand, there must have been “regular” violations of international law in the past in order to assume that US drones will continue to be used illegally in the future. When it comes to the question of what is contrary to international law, the court should not only base its own opinion on it, but must also take into account other “justifiable” positions.

In both questions, the proceedings could have been referred back to the OVG so that the Münster judges can re-examine. However, the Leipzig judges waived this.

Because even if a duty to protect against illegal US drone attacks had arisen, according to the presiding judge Ingo Kraft, Germany would have done enough to meet the duty to protect: the federal government had raised the problem with the USA and also obtained an assurance that the activities would be carried out on the Airbase “in accordance with the applicable law”. This is not “totally inadequate”.

Judge Kraft pointed out to the established case law that the federal government has a wide margin in the fulfillment of protective obligations. You just must not remain inactive or take completely unsuitable measures.


Ask billionaires to checkout (daily newspaper Junge Welt)

Demonstration for the reintroduction of the wealth tax (Hamburg, September 2020)

Gesine Lötzsch, spokeswoman for budget policy and deputy chairwoman of the parliamentary group of Die Linke in the Bundestag, commented on the results of the adjustment session on the federal budget for 2021 and the federal government’s financial plan until 2024:

This is not a pandemic budget, but the most expensive election campaign budget in the history of the Federal Republic. The federal government leaves people in the dark who should pay the bill after the federal election in 2021. This is a campaign budget that works with bad checks. Before the election, we want to know who should pay the bill afterwards. Another cut in social spending cannot be made with us. We are calling for a wealth tax for billionaires.

The policy of the federal government has further divided our country. Aid was distributed unfairly. Billionaires are bailed out with taxpayers’ money, and people in the low-wage sector suffer massive income losses. The investment backlog of around 457 billion euros has turned into an investment crisis. The money no longer flows out. The federal government’s “black zero” acted like a wrecking ball for the infrastructure. In the fever of cuts, the prerequisites for investment were destroyed. We now need a civil investment program. Poor municipalities must be freed from their old debts so that they can invest again. The sudden armament of the Bundeswehr is not a contribution to fighting the pandemic, but a waste of money.

The German section of the International Association of Lawyers against Nuclear Arms (IALANA) announced on Friday about the decision of the Federal Administrative Court to dismiss the complaints of three Yemenis against the US drone war taking place over the Ramstein air base:

The decision of the BVerwG announced on Wednesday, according to the press release of the court, screwed up the obligations of the federal government recognized by the OVG Münster with regard to the international control of the activities of the US government on German soil when using the satellite relay station on Ramstein Air Base for armed drone operations to little above zero. Inquiries to the US government should be sufficient. The Federal Government does not need to check the individual operations on site at the air base by the Bundeswehr liaison officers (…).

The importance of the satellite relay station for the operations as they u. a. The former drone pilot Brandon Bryant, who was awarded the Whistleblower Prize, described before the NSA investigative committee of the German Bundestag, is apparently misunderstood by the Senate when he thinks that there is only information transmitted via fiber optic cables and no decisions are made. The court fails to recognize that the information received, evaluated and forwarded in Ramstein (…) is an integral part of the information and command chain for the use of drones. One can only arrive at an accurate assessment if one regards this chain of information and command, which extends from the locations in the Near and Middle East and North Africa through Europe to the USA, as a uniform process.


Pandemic – Politics is reaching its limits in the fight against Corona – Politics

Exhaustion, frustration and denial among the citizens – the federal and state governments must take all of this into account in the corona rules. The second wave is not only more powerful, it is also more difficult to fight politically.

Comment from

Nico Fried, Berlin

A good four weeks before the highest Christian holiday, the federal and state governments are forced to take action. The Chancellor speaks of “drastic measures”. The gastronomy will be closed, cultural institutions, sports halls, hairdressers, places of worship and last but not least schools and universities. So it was in the middle of March, a month before Easter. On the day when Angela Merkel announced the shutdown, there have been just under 5000 infections and twelve deaths since the pandemic began – a total of.


Corona crisis: Debate about BER partial privatization

Berlin Brandenburg Willy Brandt Airport (BER)

The new capital city airport has opened, but has financial problems right from the start.

(Photo: dpa)

Berlin In view of the tense financial situation of the Berlin Brandenburg Airport Company (FBB), a debate has broken out among the owners about the involvement of private investors. The State Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Finance, Werner Gatzer, who represents the federal government on the FBB’s supervisory board, was open to partial privatization.

“As far as I know there are private investors who are willing to get involved,” said Gatzer to Rundfunk Berlin Brandenburg (RBB). Even if the new BER airport “was put into operation late, it will be a successful investment property for the next few decades”, emphasized Gatzer.

However, Berlin “definitely does not want to take the path described by Gatzer,” said Finance Senator Matthias Kollatz (SPD) to the RBB. Important infrastructure must remain in public hands, said Kollatz, also in order to prevent “a socialization of losses and privatization of profits” from taking place.

The federal government holds 26 percent of the shares in the airport company, the states of Berlin and Brandenburg each 37 percent. The financial burdens are distributed accordingly. Because of the incalculable corona crisis, forecasts are difficult. It is clear, however, that BER will need financial support from the owners for years to come due to the massive drop in passengers as a result of the crisis.

For 2020, the shareholders are already helping out with 300 million euros, through grants and loans. For the next year, the operating company FBB expects a financial requirement of up to 660 million euros, according to documents for the budget committee of the Bundestag. Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg GmbH (FBB) recently even considered suspending flight operations if the owners did not provide further financial aid at short notice.

“Permanent grant business for the taxpayer”

It is not surprising that the federal government is on the lookout for financing alternatives against this background. The possibility was kept open to sell shares in the airport company, said Gatzer. According to the partnership agreement, this is still ruled out for the next two years, but it must be clarified relatively quickly where the missing funds from the airport are to come from.

“One will also have to ask the question of whether all shareholders are giving up shares so that a private investor can get involved.” Gatzer referred, among other things, to Frankfurt am Main Airport, which has already been partially privatized.


From the point of view of the taxpayer association, a public-private partnership at BER should have been considered much earlier. “The idea has a lot of charm, because that way capital and know-how would flow to the cluttered airport company,” said association president Reiner Holznagel recently to the Handelsblatt. “Frankfurt Airport is also not fully state-owned and has many private shareholders.”

Holznagel fears that BER will never be in the black, but rather that it will remain a “permanent subsidy business for taxpayers”. Since the committees of inquiry in Berlin and Brandenburg into the bad planning of the airport, the bad management and the partial political failure are still ongoing, “the full extent of the disaster is not yet known”.

Appeal to the BER owners

BER has already put a lot of strain on the public purse: The costs for the airport rose from originally around two billion to more than six billion euros, not only because of the construction delay, but also because of numerous rescheduling and enlargements. However, there is no improvement in sight after the airport went into operation due to Corona. From the industry’s point of view, air traffic is in the most serious crisis since the Second World War.

The airport company will have “more difficult years” ahead of them, said the chairman of the supervisory board Rainer Bretschneider on Friday after the first meeting of the control committee after the commissioning of BER. “In our own efforts, we still need the support of the shareholders in order to survive the crisis in the aviation industry.”

The meeting of airport controllers was all about the massive impact of the pandemic on flight operations in the capital region. The management around airport boss Engelbert Lütke Daldrup reported that the number of passengers has recently plummeted and is around ten percent compared to the same month last year. Against this background, FBB adjusted the number of passengers expected for 2020 from a total of ten million to nine million.

The second corona wave is already hailing the BER operators in the coming financial year. FBB assumes only 30 percent of the pre-crisis passenger volume. “2021 will be one of the most difficult years in FBB history,” said Lütke Daldrup. “Now only two things help,” he emphasized: “The willingness of our shareholders to stick with us in the crisis and the commitment of the FBB company to work as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible.”


From the Berlin side, the message is clear. The country wants to master the BER crisis without private investors. Finance Senator Kollatz said that the company intends to profit from the BER’s profits once the crisis is over and air traffic has returned to normal. “If the federal government wants to withdraw, we cannot prevent that,” added the SPD politician. “But I don’t think that’s wise.” In any case, it must be ensured that the public sector keeps the majority of the shares.

At least on this question, Berlin and the federal government agree. “The public sector must be able to help shape and make decisions,” says Finance State Secretary Gatzer. “But it doesn’t make sense to me why what is possible in Frankfurt or Düsseldorf shouldn’t be possible at such an attractive airport as in Berlin,” he added with a view to possible investors for BER.

More: BER operators threatened to cease flight operations due to the corona crisis


Why Slovakia suddenly cancels its mass tests – world

The new nationwide corona mass tests planned for December will be postponed indefinitely. In Austria they stick to it.

The government of Prime Minister Igor Matovic would instead like to focus future test campaigns on particularly vulnerable population groups. After the mass tests in Slovakia, the number of new corona infections rose slightly again, which led to internal government disagreements.

Slovakia moves away from mass tests

As reported, Slovakia carried out rapid antigen tests on 3.6 million of its 5.5 million inhabitants on October 31 and November 1. Opponents of the mass tests had previously pointed out that short-term declines in new infections were not due to the tests, but to the partial lockdown in October.

The mass tests in Slovakia are for the domestic government something like the blueprint for the large-scale tests planned in December. According to the new unreported number study, up to 300,000 Austrians could already carry the virus – more than half without knowing it.

Vienna starts tests earlier than planned

In Vienna, the tests across the population will even start before the federal government’s mass tests among teachers, kindergarten teachers and police officers. The mega project is to be carried out between December 2nd and 13th. More about this HERE >>

Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz remains: Although mass tests are not a “panacea”, they are an important contribution to preventing another lockdown.

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Retail shows little understanding for the new corona rules

Bt one of the largest supermarkets in Germany is unrest. Lionel Souque, the CEO of the Rewe Group, speaks of “chaotic situations” and “endless queues”. Even now, the employees are particularly challenged in the Corona crisis, another restriction is “hardly manageable”, says Souque.

Jonas Jansen

Souque is annoyed by the stricter regulations of the federal government, which are to apply to the German retail trade from December 1: In these, the federal government is expanding the mask requirement in wholesale and retail. In future, these will also apply in front of shops and in customer parking spaces. On the other hand, for shops under 800 square meters, one person is allowed to stay in them for every 10 square meters. From 800 square meters on, however, there can only be one customer per 20 square meters in the store. Only countries with an incidence of less than 50 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants in seven days should deviate from this. At the moment, Schleswig-Holstein and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania are only two federal states.

For many retailers like Rewe, the crux of the matter is this square meter limitation. The German trade association has sharply criticized the new regulations. “There is no objective reason to issue different regulations for retailers with sales areas above and below 800 square meters”, says HDE Managing Director Stefan Genth. In the past few months, the hygiene regulations in retail have proven themselves. The General Association of the German Textile and Fashion Industry is also questioning the need for the measures. After all, there is no evidence that shopping leads to increased infections, said Genth.

Long lines in front of the shops expected

It is particularly tricky for the associations that the new regulations lead to something that the federal government actually wants to avoid as much as possible: long queues in front of the shops. Christian Böttcher from the Federal Association of the German Grocery Trade (BVLH) is also watching the situation closely. What is certain is that many grocers exceed the 800 square meter sales area. In contrast to clothing or furniture, consumers cannot simply do without their grocery shopping. Although the regulations have changed, shopping behavior will remain the same. It is also critical that the number of customers in supermarkets and discounters usually increases before Christmas. “Sales are around 20 percent above average,” he says. In addition, many employees have no other option to go to the shops at peak times. “Nevertheless, I advise you to use the off-peak times if possible.”

Böttcher cannot yet assess exactly how the situation in front of the grocery stores will look. “But it will be different.” At least the past few months have proven him right: In May, for example, there were long queues in front of the Ikea branches, which led to chaotic scenes. Even before Easter, people were standing in front of the supermarkets.

At least at the Swedish furniture company Ikea they are confident and support the current decisions of the federal government. In their hygiene concept there are also regulations on how such scenes from the spring can be avoided. Grocery retailers like Edeka find much sharper words instead. The boss of the largest German grocer, Markus Mosa, speaks out clearly against the requirements and even speaks of distortion of competition. In his opinion, the self-service department store, which is particularly large, will benefit.

Hygiene concepts have established themselves

Some other dealers who cultivate large areas also doubt whether the new regulation makes sense. However, because the hygiene and distance concepts have long been established in many places and digital frequency meters also make stricter approval controls possible, hardly anyone wants to comment publicly on the political decisions. For retailers with large areas, the restriction of the number of people is less of a burden than the accompanying psychology of the decision.

For months now, shopping in the pedestrian zone with mouth and nose protection has been less attractive than it used to be. Department stores such as Karstadt or Kaufhof are currently likely to fear less crowds in front of the shops – they generally lack customers in the area. “Nobody can do hygiene better than we do,” said Miguel Müllenbach, the head of Galeria Karstadt Kaufhof, recently to the FAZ. The possibility of buying everything in one place, keeping a generous distance and serving yourself is still less than accepted by customers than used.

Many retailers are particularly concerned about their Christmas business, which is traditionally seen as a sales driver. Fashion retailers and manufacturers in particular are seeing their businesses run away. “The new restrictions will now completely ruin the Christmas business in the stationary clothing trade,” says Uwe Mazura, General Manager of the General Association of the German Textile and Clothing Industry. According to the trade association, some retailers generate more than a fifth of their annual sales in November and December. Although the HDE is still assuming total sales of 104 billion euros for November and December, an even larger portion could be shifted to online business due to the new restrictions. The association assumes that the extension of the partial lockdown will result in sales of 2 billion euros from stationary retail to online retail.