Germany will go into national lockdown from December 16, 2020 until January 10, 2021 to slow down the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic during the holiday season. Among the new lockdown measures to reduce coronavirus infections and deaths is a ban on public alcohol consumption.

The restrictions were decided by Chancellor Angela Merkel and the 16 federal states of Germany. Germany has been in partial lockdown for six weeks. During the time bars and restaurants have been closed, but shops and schools have stayed open. The new national lockdown restrictions will come into force from December 16 and will remain in place till January 10, 2021. The Chancellor and the state leaders will have discussions on January 5 to assess the effects of new the restrictions and how to proceed.

The restrictions include the following:

  • Public alcohol use is prohibited. Bars and restaurants will remain closed as continuation of the rules from the partial lockdown period.
  • Retail shops will be closed except for grocery stores, pick-up and delivery services, including restaurants, pharmacies, drug stores, opticians, gas stations, car repair shops, banks, post offices, dry cleaners and Christmas tree dealers.
  • Personal care services such as salons, massage practices etc. will be closed.
  • Schools are either closed or the attendance requirement is not applied. Children are to be schooled at home whenever possible.
  • Employers are asked to close workplaces or provide working from home.
  • Private gatherings are limited to a maximum of five people from two households, not including children up to 14 years of age.
  • The sale of fireworks is banned.
  • Gatherings on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are banned.
  • Religious meetings are permitted if physical distancing can be maintained and mask wearing is essential.
  • For nursing homes, and mobile care services special protective measures are to be taken.
  • Additional restrictions should apply in all hotspots with an incidence of 50 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants within one week.

Germany will continue financial support for businesses which are forced to close. Aid will be provided to cover up to 90% of costs, or up to €500,000 a month.

COVID-19 cases in Germany have again been on the rise. On last Sunday, December 13, the country recorded a daily case rise of 20,200 to a total of 1,320,716. The number of people that have died due to COVID-19 rose by 321 to a total of 21,787.

Limiting alcohol availability is recommended by the World Health Organization during COVID-19 lockdowns. Alcohol – which is generally consumed in social settings – undermines COVID-19 preventive measures such as physical distancing and protective mask use. In addition, reasons for reducing alcohol availability during the pandemic include:

  1. Alcohol weakens the immune system making people more susceptible to infections such as coronavirus.
  2. Alcohol is a risk factor for many non-communicable diseases (NCDs) which are known to lead to more severe progression of coronavirus infection and increase risk of death from COVID-19.
  3. Alcohol-related diseases, injuries and accidents place avoidable strain on the healthcare system and emergency services which are at capacity due to the pandemic.


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