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Merkel meeting with heads of federal states: Limits for party events and alcohol restrictions

Merkel meeting with heads of federal states : Limits for party events and alcohol restrictions

More and more people are becoming infected with the coronavirus. The Federal Government and the individual German states want to take joint action during the critical autumn and winter period. Can that be successful?

In view of the persistently high corona infection figures, the Federal Government proposes a ceiling of 25 participants for celebrations in private rooms.

In public areas, the limit should be a maximum of 50 participants, according to a draft resolution submitted by the federal government to dpa in Berlin for the consultations of Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) with the Minister Presidents this Tuesday. The "Bild" newspaper had first reported on the figures. Overall, the Federal Government proposes a regionally graduated approach - no blanket measures.

In view of the infection figures the paper goes on to say, no further opening steps should be allowed at present. Here are the details of the draft:

Rules for restaurants and the serving of alcohol

In order to enable correct contact tracing, regulatory authorities should be able to impose a minimum fine of 50 euros for violations such as providing false personal details in restaurants. According to the draft, the Federal Government and the German states appeal to the responsibility of the citizens. When visiting bars, restaurants and events, they should support "the rapid detection and containment of corona outbreaks by providing correct and complete personal data and contact information".

In particularly affected regions, the Federal Government also wants to limit the sale of alcohol under certain conditions. In order to minimise infections in the catering trade, "time-limited bans on the sale of alcohol would have to be introduced if the incidence of infection increases".

Private party events and limits for new infections

It remains open whether the maximum numbers mentioned above should only apply to private parties - if certain limits are broken in the case of new infections. The draft states in square brackets that the German states would issue regulations on the number of participants in celebrations if the number of 35 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants is exceeded in a district within seven days. This means that the critical number of new infections for this regulation still has to be negotiated in the conference.

A lower number can be set by a federal state or a municipality according to the draft. Exceptions could be allowed for notified celebrations with hygiene plans approved by the public health department.

If more than 50 people per 100,000 inhabitants in a district become infected within 7 days, further measures would have to be adopted, the paper goes on to say. In particular, the number of participants should then be further limited - according to the Federal Government's ideas to a maximum of 10 participants in private rooms and a maximum of 25 participants in public rooms.

Early warning system planned - Corona warning light not explicitly mentioned

A corona warning traffic light proposed by NRW head of government Armin Laschet (CDU) and also Bavarian Minister President Markus Söder (CSU) is not explicitly mentioned. However, it is said that even before the number of new infections reaches 50 per 100,000 inhabitants, the German states would "set up a suitable early warning system to prevent this incidence from being exceeded if possible“.

Fever outpatient clinics for the autumn and winter season

In view of the increasing number of corona infections and the simultaneous wave of influenza to be expected in the autumn and winter season, the Federal Government proposes the use of fever outpatient clinics. The Federal Government and the German states should present a concept in good time on how to prevent overburdening of hospitals and GP surgeries especially. Such a concept should sound out the possibilities of fever outpatient clinics, special consultations and special practices. At the same time, risk groups in particular should be vaccinated against seasonal flu as a precautionary measure.

AHA formula to be supplemented by "L" for ventilation

Especially in the cold season, two more letters should be added to the valid "AHA" formula for keeping your distance, hygiene and everyday masks: "C" as in Corona-Warn-App and "L" as in airing. "Regular ventilation in all private and public rooms can considerably reduce the risk of infection", it is said.

Appeal to the personal responsibility of citizens

"In view of the falling temperatures and the increased stay in closed rooms in autumn and winter and the imminent flu season, we must be particularly careful now", the draft warns. This applies in particular to leisure activities and private celebrations, which have recently been identified as the main causes of regional infection. The primary aim of the measures must be to ensure that schools and childcare facilities continue to operate in attendance and do not jeopardise the restart of the economy.

Education Minister Karliczek: Ensuring school operation

Federal Minister of Education Anja Karliczek called for increased efforts to ensure that schools are run properly. She was "worried that the pandemic would again endanger teaching in schools", the CDU politician told the editorial network Germany. The number of pupils in quarantine is still manageable, but that may not remain so. Society could prevent it if the basic rules for combating the pandemic were still being observed. "But also in the schools themselves, this discipline must be applied by all those involved.

Chancellor warns of exponential increase in corona numbers

At a video conference of the CDU presidency on Monday, Merkel had warned of a significant increase in new corona infections in Germany, according to information from participants. If they continued to develop in this way on a weekly basis, there would be 19,200 new infections per day at Christmas. The Chancellor had had this figure projected, they said.

The last time Merkel and the Minister Presidents had discussed measures to be taken in the pandemic was at the end of August. Even back then, the main cause for concern was celebrations in private and family life, which are considered to be one of the main causes of the rising number of infections. At that time, the Federal Government and the German states could not agree on nationwide upper limits for participant numbers.

(Original text: dpa-infocom / Translation: Mareike Graepel)