Düsseldorf Despite concerns about the more contagious variants of the coronavirus, NRW will once again be giving its citizens more freedom. As of Monday, people be allowed, among other things, to do more outdoor sports or buy vegetable seeds and plants at the garden center.
Despite the coronavirus levels stagnating in Germany, North Rhine-Westphalia will be relaxing a number of measures starting on Monday. It was already clear that elementary and high school students would be allowed to return to school. But now the state will also be allowing many recreational athletes, music schools and hobby gardeners more freedom. At the same time, however, NRW Health Minister Karl-Josef Laumann (CDU) warned on Friday against rushing things.
"I am concerned about the current trend toward stagnation in infection numbers and the virus mutations that appear to be spreading," Laumann said. The important seven-day indicator for new coronavirus infections had risen slightly again on Friday after a prolonged downward trend in NRW. Nationwide, experts are warning of the impact of the more contagious variants of the coronavirus.
The most important changes at a glance
Schools and daycare centers: On Monday, elementary schools, graduating classes and special schools are initially to return to face-to-face classes on a day-by-day basis in an alternating model. The obligation to wear a medical mask will apply throughout the school grounds. Students through grade 8 are permitted to wear a cloth mask if a medical one doesn't fit. Some extracurricular activities will also be allowed again. Daycare centers will start limited regular operations on Monday - meaning all children will be allowed to come, but for fewer hours altogether.
Recreational sports: Starting Monday, activities at outdoor sports facilities will again be allowed if no more than two people are practicing together - such as tennis. If only people from one household are doing activities together, more than two people are also allowed. Indoor sports facilities and swimming pools, however, will remain closed.
Music schools: Individual lessons may be given again in music schools - but only for children up to elementary school age.
Dog training schools: Dog training schools will also be allowed to offer individual outdoor programs again starting Monday, but with strict rules in place for social distancing. This applies to all outdoor educational programs.
Garden markets: For hobby gardeners the following applies: DIY and garden markets are permitted again to sell vegetable plants and seeds as well as necessary equipment. Other inventory will not be on offer for the customers, however. Previously, only the sale of cut flowers and perishable potted plants was permitted.
Hair salons and podiatry services: People will have to wait a few days longer for their next haircut. As previously announced, on March 1, hair salons and podiatry services will be permitted to open. Cosmetic, nail and tattoo studios, however, must remain closed.
The extended Corona Protection Ordinance with these changes is initially valid until March 7.
(Orig. text: dpa/ Translation: ck)