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ANGELA MERKEL

Hair salons in Germany to reopen on March 1st

Many people will be counting down to the day: From March 1st, hair salons in Germany will be allowed to reopen under strict hygiene regulations.

Hair salons in Germany to reopen on March 1st
Hairdressers in Bavaria started a country-wide campaign (Hairdressers in an emergency) calling for hair salons to open again. Photo: DPA

Germany’s 16 state premiers reached an agreement with Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) during a video conference on late Wednesday afternoon, according to DPA.

Under pressure from Merkel, the state leaders backed down from their originally suggested opening date of February 22nd for Friseure (hair salons).

“Because of the importance of hairdressers for personal hygiene and the closure that has now existed for some time, it seems necessary for it to be possible to use them again,” the government wrote in a draft report. 

“Significant sections of the population, especially the elderly, are dependent on them.”

They called, however, for tight hygienic measures to be in place, such as face masks for both hairdressers and their customers, and a limited number of customers at any given time.

Hairdressers were forced to close in mid-December when Germany extended its shutdown – in effect since the beginning of November – and put stricter measures in place. 

Contested opening dates

Earlier on Wednesday Merkel and state governments called to extend the current shutdown – in effect until Sunday February 14th – to March 14th.

However, they reached a compromise on Wednesday evening to end it earlier on March 7th.  

READ ALSO: Germany to extend lockdown measures to March 7th

Merkel also compromised with state leaders in the opening dispute over schools and daycare centres (Kitas): The states are to decide on themselves when they can open their doors to pupils again.

In return, according to Spiegel, states will look into whether teachers and nursery educators can be vaccinated earlier.

Merkel and state premieres are set to decide on other opening steps on Wednesday evening.

 

Member comments

  1. Finally. I look like The Beatles with no haircut for over three months, except I can’t sing or play and I don’t look half as attractive.

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COVID-19 RULES

Bavaria pushes for stricter Covid regulations in autumn

Health ministers across Germany's 16 states are debating the government's new Covid plan - and politicians in Bavaria say they want more clarity.

Bavaria pushes for stricter Covid regulations in autumn

On Tuesday, federal and state health ministers planned to discuss the Covid protection proposals for autumn and winter presented last week by Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) and Justice Minister Marco Buschmann (FDP).

However, some states and politicians are not satisfied with the plans. 

Under the proposals, masks will remain mandatory in air and long-distance transport, as well as clinics, nationwide. But federal states will be able to choose themselves whether to introduce further measures like mandatory masks on public and regional transport.

States will also have the power to take tougher Covid measures if the situation calls for it, such as mandatory masks indoors, but lockdowns and school closures have been ruled out. 

READ ALSO Masks and no lockdowns: Germany’s new Covid plan from autumn to Easter

The draft law states that there can be exceptions from wearing masks in indoor spaces, such as restaurants, for recently Covid-vaccinated or recovered people. 

But Bavaria’s health minister Klaus Holetschek (CSU) told DPA that these planned exemptions were not justified because vaccinated and recovered people can still transmit infections. “There are clear gaps in the current draft law,” said the CSU politician.

Dominik Spitzer, health policy spokesman for the FDP parliamentary group in the Bavarian state parliament, also questioned this exception, saying the rules “simply made no sense”.

“With the current virus variant, that would be impossible to convey, since even vaccinated people can continue to carry the virus,” the FDP politician told Bavarian broadcaster BR24. 

The coalition government’s graduated plan under the new Infection Protection Act, is set to be in force from October 1st until April 7th next year. 

The powers for the states are a first step, “but they do not go far enough for us”, Holetschek added, while calling for some points to be tightened up. “We need strong guidelines for autumn and winter.”

Holetschek said the government needed to tighten up the criteria with which states can adopt and enforce more effective measures to protect against the spread of Covid-19.

READ ALSO: Could Germany see a ‘patchwork’ of Covid rules?

Meanwhile, CDU health politician Erwin Rüddel said Germany was on the “wrong track” and the country should find “a completely different approach” to Covid policy than it has so far.

He accused the coalition government of being in “panic mode” and said he doubted the Bundestag would pass the proposals.

“I believe, there will be significant changes (to the draft)”, he said.

But the chairperson of the doctors’ association Marburger Bund, Susanne Johna, backed the plans.

“The proposal for the new Infection Protection Act gives the states sufficient possibilities to react adequately to the infection situation,” Johna told the Rheinische Post on Tuesday.

“The states can take regionally adapted measures to protect people if the need arises. I can’t understand why this concept is being called into question right away.”

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