Corona virus: what closes now and what remains open?

Corona virus: what closes now and what remains open?

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Merkel announces unprecedented measures!

Chancellor Angela Merkel announced on Monday afternoon, March 16, 2020, far-reaching measures that should largely paralyze public life in Germany. Accordingly, the federal government, in agreement with the federal states, has agreed on a guideline for a uniform approach to further restrict social contacts in public life. What are the implications of this decision?

First, the Chancellor emphasized that basic services would remain in place. These include, for example, food retailing, weekly markets and delivery services, pharmacies, drug stores, banks, petrol stations and wholesalers. However, bars, clubs, theaters, museums, cinemas, zoos, sports facilities and playgrounds as well as other places of gatherings, such as clubs, sports and leisure facilities, as well as churches, mosques, synagogues and meeting places of other religious communities, should be closed.

Why are such drastic measures implemented?

“We are guided by what science says to us again and again,” emphasizes the Chancellor. The most effective measure to reduce the spread of viruses is therefore to increase the distance, that is, to reduce social contacts. Merkel underlines that medical care, energy supply and food for the population remain guaranteed.

This has never happened before!

"These are measures that have never existed in our country before," explains Merkel. They are decisive - but necessary. The measures are intended to secure medical care for the population by reducing the number of new cases and thus the number of serious cases.

When does the regulation apply?

The measures are to be implemented by the individual federal states. "They will do this shortly - if they have not already done so," explains the Chancellor. The measures are to take place throughout Germany and should be largely uniform in the individual federal states.

What is left open?

First, the Chancellor describes what will remain open. For these areas, it is even being considered whether the ban on sales will be lifted on Sundays. Stricter hygiene requirements should apply in all areas mentioned below. In addition, measures to control access may be taken to avoid queues. According to the Federal Chancellor, shops in the following areas remain open:

  • Food retail,
  • Weekly markets,
  • Pick-up and delivery services,
  • Beverage markets,
  • Pharmacies,
  • Medical supply stores,
  • Drugstores,
  • Gas stations,
  • Banks and savings banks,
  • Post offices,
  • Hairdressers,
  • Dry cleaners and laundromats,
  • Newspaper sales,
  • DIY, garden and pet stores,
  • Wholesale,
  • Service providers and craftsmen,
  • all healthcare facilities.

Merkel: "These are the things that will be closed!"

As a second point, the Chancellor lists all areas that will be closed in the coming days until further notice. Which includes:

  • Bars and pubs,
  • Clubs, discotheques and similar facilities,
  • Theaters, operas and concert halls,
  • Museums and similar institutions,
  • Fairs and exhibitions,
  • Cinemas,
  • Amusement and animal parks,
  • Providers of leisure activities (indoor and outdoor),
  • Special markets,
  • Amusement arcades, casinos, betting shops and similar facilities,
  • Prostitution centers, brothels and similar facilities,
  • Sports companies on and in all public and private sports facilities,
  • Swimming pools and fun pools,
  • Gyms and similar facilities,
  • Playgrounds,
  • all other undisclosed retailers.

Ban on meetings

As a third point, Merkel announced a ban on meetings in:

  • Sports clubs,
  • Leisure facilities,
  • Adult education centers and music schools,
  • other public and private educational institutions,
  • Coaches,
  • Churches, mosques, synagogues,
  • Places of other faiths.

Restricted visiting rights

According to Merkel, new regulations for visiting rights in hospitals, preventive and rehabilitation facilities, nursing homes and similar facilities must also be enacted.

Special requirements for the catering trade

According to the Federal Chancellor, special regulations will now apply to cafeterias, restaurants and hotels. Here, for example, a distance regulation for tables is to be introduced, a limitation of the number of visitors as well as increased hygiene regulations. The opening hours of such facilities are limited to the period between 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.

No vacations and limited accommodations

In addition, rules should be in place to ensure "that overnight accommodation offers in Germany can only be used for necessary and expressly not for tourist purposes," said Merkel. This regulation also includes that there should be no holidays in the country or abroad in the near future.

Regulation for employees

Many workers are affected by the consequences of the corona crisis. "In order to counteract this, the new regulations for easier access to short-time benefits will come into force retrospectively on March 1, 2020," the federal government wrote in a press release. Federal health minister Hubertus Heil emphasizes that in addition to health, the workplace must also be protected.

Travel abroad is strongly discouraged

The Federal Foreign Office advises against unnecessary trips abroad. The risk is currently high for travelers, due to increasing global restrictions, to be unable to return or to experience other problems when returning home. (vb)

You can find more current information in our Corona Live Ticker: Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

Graduate editor (FH) Volker Blasek


  • Federal government: guidelines against the spread of the coronavirus (published: 16.03.2020),

Video: Coronavirus: Japan schools to close for several weeks- BBC News (May 2022).


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