At their first online meeting this year, the Chancellor and the state premiers decided to extend the COVID-19 restrictions until 31 January 2021. The aim is still to push numbers back down below 50 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants over a seven-day period. Federal and state governments again urged all citizens to reduce their contacts to an absolute minimum and stay at home as far as possible.
Limiting private meetings
The restrictions currently in place are to be tightened, such that households may only meet up with one other person who does not belong to their household. In districts where the seven-day incidence exceeds 200 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants, the federal states are to take appropriate further-reaching steps. In particular, people will only be permitted to move within a 15 kilometre radius of their place of residence, unless they have a compelling reason for doing so. Day trips are specifically mentioned as not constituting a compelling reason.
With a view to the vaccination campaign that has now started, the federal government will provide the individual federal states with reliable delivery dates for the vaccine doses, on the basis of the information provided by the manufacturer, to allow the states to put in place an effective appointments management system at local level. By mid-February at the latest, the vaccine will be offered to all residents of care facilities. In the first quarter of 2021, it can be expected that other vaccines will also be authorised for use, and thus that additional vaccine doses will be supplied.
Measures for schools and nurseries to remain in effect
The federal and state governments have stressed that for educational purposes and to enable parents to reconcile their family and professional commitments, schools and nurseries are crucially important. Nevertheless, the measures taken by the federal states in this area too, as laid out in their decision dated 13 December 2020, will have to be extended until the end of January.
Entitlement to “child sick pay” for a longer period
The German government will put in place the legal basis to ensure that each parent is entitled to ten more days of “child sick pay” in 2021 (20 days in the case of single parents). The entitlement covers days when parents are required to take time off work to look after their sick children at home. The federal and state governments have also announced an initiative to attract volunteers to conduct extensive rapid tests in pension and care homes.