Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, recently announced a new partial lockdown for Germany in the battle against COVID-19.
As of the 2nd of November, many businesses across Germany will have to close for the entire month. Merkel’s rationale here is to curtail the spread of the virus as much as possible to minimise the impact on the Christmas and New Year period. Dubbed “lockdown light”, the impacts of the new partial lockdown measures are definitely not light and will impact everyone in some way.
My biggest worry is for those who live alone and rely on going to bars and cafes for social interaction. I fall into that category myself at the moment, as I work from home and live alone because my family is in various other countries. The countless old folk who rely on cafes to get out of the house and see people will now have to spend yet another month seeing nobody. That is tough even for the strongest individuals. So please spare a thought for those folk right now. Check on them from time to time, even if it’s just a text message to say “are you okay?”.
In my humble opinion, it is all well and good governments making these knee-jerk decisions to shut everything down, but have they have given enough consideration to the impacts on mental health? Seemingly not, as a psychologist friend of mine continues to voice her concerns that the mental health profession risks getting swamped with new cases over the coming months and years. COVID-19 is going to affect us for a long, long time.
Businesses are particularly unhappy about the new measures. Following previous government demands, bars, restaurants and cafes made considerable efforts to install protective, sanitising and social distancing measures. But that is no longer enough and they have to close completely. Time will tell if the government suffers any significant backlash from the latest measures as even the Germans have their limits.
So what will close / be prohibited under ‘Lockdown Light’?
- Restaurants, cafes and bars – closed.
- Large events – cancelled / prohibited.
- Overnight stays in hotels for tourist purposes – prohibited.
- Meetings in public – restricted to just two households and a maximum of ten people in total.
- Theatres, cinemas – closed.
- Public recreation centres (e.g. swimming pools, gyms and saunas) – closed.
- Crowds at sports events – prohibited.
- Brothels and sex clubs – closed.
And what will remain open / allowed during “Lockdown Light’?
- Schools and kindergartens – open.
- Restaurants, bars and cafes – takeaways only.
- Church services – open*
- Protests – allowed*
- Residents of nursing homes – visitors allowed.
- Shops and petrol stations – open (but only one customer per 10 square meters allowed).
- Borders with neighbouring countries – open.
* Church services and protests are allowed due to constitutional concerns apparently.
So that’s the new partial lockdown in a nutshell. The measures will be in force throughout the whole of November. No need to panic though – the shops are staying open and there will be plenty of loo paper, flour, pasta, canned tomatoes and UHT milk to go round.
Stay safe. And stay sane if you can.
For the latest updates on COVID-19 in Germany, please head over to the website of the Robert Koch Institut by clicking here.