People from two separate households can meet from now on, Chancellor Angela Merkel and the country’s 16 state premiers decided on Wednesday May 6th.
The previous requirement stated that only two people (excluding families or those from the same household) could meet outside in public.
Over the past weeks, federal and state governments have been debating how to ease the lockdown and social distancing restrictions put in place to stem the spread of coronavirus.
Some states have already relaxed the contact ban rules: in the eastern state of Saxony-Anhalt, for example, five people not belonging to the same household have been allowed to meet since Monday.
Prior to Wednesday’s meeting, Merkel supported the measure from the western state of Saarland, which allows two households to meet.
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The measure was also also backed by Schleswig-Holstein's Minister President Daniel Günther, of the centre-right CDU, and Bavaria's head of government Markus Söder, of the CDU's Bavarian sister party, the CSU, who said it matched up well with “the realities of life.”
During the the meeting it was also decided that all shops in Germany reopen under certain hygienic conditions, thus lifting the previous restriction of 800 square metres.
Before the conference call, state premiers had gone public with their own plans for further easing the restrictions.
Merkel is expected to issue an official statement later on Wednesday.