Germany to reopen all shops and schools in May

Berlin (AFP) – Germany will take further steps towards normalization in May, including the reopening of shops and schools after weeks of shutdown imposed to control the spread of the coronavirus, according to a draft agreement seen by AFP on Wednesday.

"Even after the initial opening stages were introduced from April 20, the number of new infections remained low," said the document, with "no new wave of infection" detected so far – justifying the series of reopening steps. bolder.

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So far, only a few children like those who soon took the exams were allowed to return to school.

But now kindergartens and primary schools will also reopen starting next week.

"Step by step, schools must make it possible for all students to be educated, implementing appropriate hygiene measures and maintaining the distance rules", said the document.

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Chancellor Angela Merkel and premieres from Germany's 16 federal states are expected to sign the text on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, it will be up to each region to decide how to proceed with the reopening of universities.

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Regarding the stores, the politicians said that everything could be reopened, but that "hygiene, entry management and queuing prevention" requirements would be imposed.

So far, only stores up to 800 square meters had been allowed to resume sales.

States will also be free to reopen restaurants from May 9, as well as on decisions affecting theaters, concert halls, nightclubs and gyms.

Meanwhile, the main restriction on coronavirus that should remain – probably for several months – is the ban on large gatherings, such as sports games, cultural events or festivals.

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Such events will remain banned until "at least August 31", according to the text.

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In addition, blocking measures will be reimposed if the number of coronavirus infections starts to increase again.

If more than 50 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants are detected in seven days, the affected city or district must impose "a corresponding blocking plan".

In the case of a "localized and clearly contagious pattern of infection" – as in a single institution such as the home for the elderly – the measures may be limited only to the specific location affected, and not to an entire region.

The government also includes a general call for Germans to continue to keep a safe distance from each other and to wear masks in stores and on public transport.

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