Germany Makes Shy Attempts to Go Back to Normal Life, Hairdressers and Florist Shops Reopen
Germany started a cautious return to normality with hairdressers reopening for business, along with hardware stores and flower shops in certain states, news wires reported. However, lack of decline in infections means most coronavirus rules will remain in place so far.
While hairdressers were to open across Germany, provided they follow strict hygiene restrictions and adopt a reservations-only system, most of the other measures vary from state to state. Certain states, including North Rhine-Westphalia, were to allow businesses such as flower shops and hardware stores to open. Some states are allowing music in schools, but with possible restrictions on singing and wind instruments deemed more likely to spread the virus. Other states, including Bavaria, were also set to give the green light for driving lessons to begin again, and for foot care studios to reopen.
Elementary school students returned to their classrooms across much of Germany last week, after a decision last month to extend most, but not all, lockdown measures until 7 March. Most shops have stayed closed since tighter restrictions were introduced on 16 December. Restaurants, bars, sports and leisure venues have all been closed since 2 November.
Now the country is balancing a desire to return to normal with a concern about new strains of the virus, and a stall in the decline of new cases. Chancellor Angela Merkel and Germany's 16 state premiers are expected to meet on Wednesday to decide how to proceed with the rest of coronavirus restrictions beyond the first week of March.
While current lockdown measures have been credited with helping bring down daily new infection numbers, experts warned that the declining infection rate had stabilised and even started climbing slightly, with growing concerns about the spread of new virus variants.
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