Two days before the country goes into a tough lockdown that will close most shops, tighten social distancing laws, and close schools around the country, the German government has called on everyone to refrain from Christmas shopping.
Peter Altmaier, Minister of Economy, said Sunday, “I wish and hope that people will only buy what they really need, like food,”
“The faster we get these infections under control, the better it is for everyone.”
Chancellor Angela Merkel and the governors of 16 German states decided on Sunday to tighten the lockdown measures, beginning on Wednesday and continuing through January 10, in order to halt the spike in 19 cases involving Covid.
Ms. Merkel said the current restrictions introduced in November failed to reduce the number of new infections significantly.
In recent weeks, Germany has seen a rising number of confirmed cases and deaths.
On Monday, 16,362 new cases, about 4,000 more than the previous week, were registered by the country’s central disease control center.
There were 188 new deaths recorded by the Robert Koch Institute, taking the overall death toll to 21,975.
The daily death toll increased last week to almost 600 cases, but the figures are generally lower after the weekend since not all states reported new numbers over the weekend.
In recent weeks, hospitals across the nation have repeatedly cautioned that they were exceeding their limits in caring for 19 patients with Covid and that staffing in intensive care units was becoming an issue.
Schools have already been closed or compulsory schooling has been suspended in several states, including Saxony in eastern Germany and North Rhine-Westphalia in the west, so parents can keep their children at home.
Schools nationwide will be closed or moved to home schooling from Wednesday onwards; most non-food shops will remain closed, as will companies such as hairdressers that were previously permitted to remain open.
Deliveries to restaurants will still be approved, but no food or drink will be allowed on site.
The number of people permitted to meet indoors will remain limited to five, with the exception of the Christmas season, not counting children under 14.
Including outdoor public celebrations on New Year’s Eve, the selling of fireworks commonly used to celebrate New Year’s Eve will be banned.