Closing Germany’s hotels, restaurants and theatres is ‘very hard decision’, says Health Minister

Closing Germany's hotels, restaurants and theatres is 'very hard decision', says Health Minister
Health Minister Jens Spahn who is currently in quarantine. Photo: DPA
Health Minister Jens Spahn has defended government proposals for a lockdown in Germany in November.

Spahn, who is working from home after testing positive for the virus, said urgent action was required to bring the coronavirus situation in Germany under control.

“If we wait until the intensive care beds are full, then it will be too late,” he told regional broadcaster SWR.

Spahn said hospitals are already at their limits in other European countries and requests for help were coming into Germany.

The proposed restrictions to come in force from November 4th to the end of the month would limit contact outdoors to people from two households.

READ ALSO: Germany's lockdown plan to 'save Christmas': What you need to know

Schools, daycare centres and shops will remain open, but hotel stays will be allowed only for “necessary and strictly non-tourism purposes”.

Bars, cafes, restaurants would have to shut, although takeaways and delivery services can continue under the proposals.

The aim is to break the infection momentum, so that over Christmas, there won't be far-reaching measures.

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Chancellor Angela Merkel is meeting with state leaders via a video call today and they will decide on how to control the spiralling coronavirus rates in Germany.

Spahn expressed his confidence that there would be a clear line after the federal-state meeting. It's best to “break the wave” now and have the situation under control by Christmas, he said.

READ ALSO: Fears over lack of medical staff in Germany amid coronavirus surge

Extra support should be given to the sectors particularly affected by the planned restrictions, such as tour operators, gastronomy and cultural workers. It was a “very, very hard decision” to shut down all these sectors in November, he said.

 A new shutdown would inflict the hardest blow to these sectors which took the most painful hit in the spring.

Employees and bosses in the events industry marched on Wednesday in protest at new restrictions, while the federation of wholesalers and trade warned that shutting restaurants would sound the death knell for many small companies.

EXPLAINED: What might a new lockdown in Germany look like?


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