German federal government pushes for lockdown extension until May 3

The German federal government is suggesting the nationwide lockdown be extended until at least May 3, although restrictions could be loosened to allow smaller businesses and public places to reopen.

Under a proposal seen by dpa, businesses with a sales floor area of up to 800 square metres could once again open their doors.

While the final decisions are to be taken by the 16 state governments, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s federal government is seeking broad coordination on what to do about the nationwide lockdown after the current restrictions are due to expire this Sunday.

Merkel and the state premiers were holding discussions on Wednesday.

Certain businesses, including car dealers, cycle shops and bookshops would be allowed to reopen, provided that proper hygiene is maintained. Libraries, archives, zoos and botanical gardens would similarly be permitted to open, according the federal proposal.

Services involving close personal contact, such as hairdressers, would be allowed to resume operations from May 4 under certain conditions, including the wearing of personal protection equipment.

Restaurants, bars and pubs are to remain shuttered. Religious gatherings in churches, mosques and synagogues will continue to be prohibited in terms of the federal government proposals.

Hotels would continue to be available for essential, but not tourist, purposes.

The document opens the way for school pupils in their final year to sit their exams. Child day care centres are to remain open for essential workers’ children, with the categories expanded.

Grocery stores, banks and pharmacies have remained open throughout Germany’s lockdown.

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