DThe federal government wants to extend the current corona lockdown until February 15 and tighten the protective measures in some cases. A draft resolution from the Federal Chancellery for the federal-state consultations on Tuesday afternoon provides, among other things, for the obligation to wear medical masks in local transport and in shops. Exit restrictions and a limitation of the radius of movement to 15 kilometers around the place of residence are to be extended to large parts of Germany. The document from Monday evening has now been replaced by a new draft as of 12.40 p.m. on Tuesday. Some points have been put in square brackets. This means that this passage is debatable. Both documents are available to the FAZ.
The prime ministers of the federal states would have to agree in the afternoon. It appears, however, that there is still considerable disagreement about the required measures. In particular, the SPD-led countries announced a number of requests for changes.
According to the will of the Chancellery, there is an obligation to wear medical masks in public transport and in shops. “Wearing mouth and nose covers has proven to be a particularly effective measure in the pandemic,” says the first submission, which is dated Monday evening. Everyday masks made of fabric have a worse effect than medical masks. This means both simple surgical masks and significantly more expensive FFP2 masks. In Bavaria there is already an obligation to wear FFP2 masks.
Schools should open in mid-February at the earliest
The federal government also wants to oblige companies to offer their employees to work from home as far as possible. The Federal Ministry of Labor will issue a corresponding ordinance, according to the bill.
This measure is intended to help reduce contacts in public transport. The aim is “that the number of passengers usually does not exceed a third of the regular number of passengers permitted in a means of transport”. This should enable passengers to keep a greater distance. Employers should also enable flexible working hours in order to equalize the flow of commuters.
In daycare centers and schools, the previous restrictions should remain: “Emergency care is ensured and distance learning is offered.” “Special regulations” could apply to final classes. The Chancellery advocates that schools generally only open after February 15. The entire paragraph is in square brackets and is therefore considered controversial.
In the proposal, citizens are called upon to “limit all contacts to the absolutely necessary minimum in the next three weeks and stay at home as far as possible”. Private get-togethers are “still permitted in the group of members of the own household and with a maximum of one other person not living in the household”. However, this already existing rule has been implemented differently by the federal states.
The Chancellery does not call for further tightening of contacts in the private sector in the draft. However, the states are to expand their regulations for corona hotspots, which previously apply from a seven-day incidence of 200 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants, to areas with an incidence over 50. This passage is also in square brackets in the second draft. There it says somewhat awkwardly: “In countries or districts which, due to their high 7-day incidence, cannot foreseeably fall below the incidence of 50 by February 15, the countries are now also below an incidence of 200 for as long and so take extensive further local or regional measures according to the Infection Protection Act, in particular exit restrictions and / or the restriction of the radius of movement to 15 km around the place of residence, so that a correspondingly rapid reduction in the number of infections is achieved. “
Large parts of Germany would then be affected by such curfews and the restriction of the radius of movement to a maximum of 15 kilometers around the place of residence. Only 14 of 294 counties currently have a seven-day incidence below 50.
In the proposal, the federal government refers to the improvements that can be expected from the corona vaccinations. “At the beginning of 2021, the corona pandemic is marked by great hope,” says the introduction. “The approval of now two vaccines, the start of vaccinations and the prospect of further successful vaccine candidates are linked to the hope that the pandemic can be overcome this year.” A new working group is to prepare possible steps to open it in the event that the incidence drops below 50.
“As long as we remain at a medium to high infection level, however, there is no room for relaxation. And if the virus mutations actually turn out to be much more contagious, the situation is likely to worsen significantly. “