Looking ahead with confidence

Federation-Länder conference Looking ahead with confidence

The coronavirus rules are having the desired effect. Infection figures are high, but no longer rising. For this reason, it is now possible to ease restrictions step by step. We deserve an improvement in the situation, said Federal Chancellor Scholz. The Federal and Länder Governments have agreed on a three-step easing of restrictions – a summary of the decisions.

The graphic is entitled “Easing of restrictions in three steps”

By 20 March, the far-reaching coronavirus regulations are to be eased.

Foto: Bundesregierung

“We can look forward with greater confidence than we have been able to in recent weeks,” said Federal Chancellor Scholz after the consultations with the Heads of Government of the Länder. The Federal and Länder Governments had made the right decisions in the past weeks and months, noted Scholz, saying that Germany had fared better than its neighbouring countries in the current wave of infections. 

The current Omicron wave had probably peaked, said the Federal Chancellor, and the situation could be expected to improve steadily in the weeks to come. As such, it was now possible to “offer optimistic perspectives”, said Scholz. Many of the restrictions are to be eased in three steps by 20 March. “Many citizens feel the same as I do,” said Scholz, “that somehow, after two long years, we deserve an improvement in the situation.”

Three-step plan to ease restrictions

The Federal Chancellor decided on these steps together with the Heads of Government of the Länder: 

In a first step, private gatherings for the vaccinated and recovered are to be possible again without restrictions on the number of participants. If an unvaccinated person participates in a gathering, the contact restrictions for unvaccinated persons continue to apply. Access to shops is to be possible for everyone nationwide without any checks – the requirement to wear a mask remains, however.

In a second step , the 3G rule (vaccinated/recovered/tested) is to apply from 4 March in cafés and restaurants as well as overnight accommodation. Discos and clubs (dance venues) will be open to those who are vaccinated or recovered, as well as to those who have received a third vaccination (2GPlus). More people are to be admitted to major national events.

In the third step, starting on 20 March, all the far-reaching protective measures are to be lifted provided the situation in hospitals permits. This includes the requirement to work from home. However, employers can continue to offer working from home arrangements.

Assessment to be made prior to each easing step

Before each step, a assessment is to be made to make sure the planned measures are appropriate to the situation. Concrete implementation of the resolutions is the responsibility of the Länder. In addition, the Länder will decide independently whether to apply easing steps in those areas that have little national impact or none at all. 

Basic protection remains important

Even after discontinuation of the far-reaching coronavirus rules, basic protection measures will continue to apply – such as wearing masks on buses and trains and in enclosed spaces in facilities open to the public. The same applies to social distancing and general hygiene requirements. In addition, it is to be possible to provide for compulsory testing in certain areas and to check vaccination, recovery and test status.

The Bundestag has yet to establish a legal basis for this regulation. In this way, the Federal and Länder Governments are to be in a position to respond to possible virus variants by taking action as required.

Don’t throw caution to the wind

Federal Chancellor Scholz also warned people not to throw caution to the wind, in spite of all the optimism. “And we have to clear on the fact that the pandemic is not over yet,” said Scholz. For this reason, it was important to continue to promote vaccination, he said. “Vaccination helps and provides the best protection against the consequences of infection,” said Scholz. 

See here for the original wording of the Federation-Länder decision PDF, 105 KB, nicht barrierefrei  of 16 February. 

Here you will find details of the planned steps to ease restrictions.

See here for a summary of the current coronavirus regulations. 

Further information on coronavirus economic aid programmes is available here.

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