Germany plans to extend social distancing rules until July 5th

Germany plans to extend social distancing rules until July 5th
People relaxing in a park in Munich on May 21st. Photo: DPA
The German government aims to impose social distancing rules until at least July 5th to keep the coronavirus outbreak under control, according to a draft policy, in the face of a revolt by regional states.

The working paper from Chancellor Angela Merkel's office and viewed by AFP would extend by a month existing contact restrictions “to maintain a distance of 1.5 metres  (five feet)” between people and “require masks in certain public areas” such as supermarkets and buses.

According to the paper, the aim is to allow gatherings of 10 people in public, or meetings between people from two separate households.

Currently, people from two households are allowed to meet. That rule is in place up to and and including June 5th.

However, the government is still urging people to keep contact with other people low.

“The number of people with whom one has contact should be kept as low as possible and the group of people should be kept as constant as possible,” the paper states. This applies in particular to children, “for whom it must be assumed that distance and hygiene rules are not consistently implemented”.

Events and meetings that require hygiene plans are to be considered separately, according to the plans.

The hygiene and distance rules must also be implemented for private meetings at home in closed rooms, the paper states. The number of people should be measured “according to the possibility of adhering to the distance rule”, and “sufficient ventilation should be provided”.

Meanwhile, the federal government recommends “where possible, private meetings should be held outdoors, as there is a considerably lower risk of infection”.

Further contact restrictions should be imposed “where the regional dynamics of the infection situation so require”. The aim is then to “contain the outbreak” and prevent further infection clusters, says the draft resolution.

The social distancing policy, until now pursued in coordination with the federal government, comes as two eastern states, Thuringia and Saxony, announced a drastic opening up from June 6th in defiance of Berlin's guidelines.


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