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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

Munich sees sharp rise in Covid cases after Oktoberfest

Since the start of Germany’s Oktoberfest, the incidence of Covid infections in Munich has risen sharply. Though a connection with the festival can’t yet be proven, it seems likely.

Munich sees sharp rise in Covid cases after Oktoberfest

Two weeks after the start of Oktoberfest, the Covid numbers in Munich have more than tripled.

On Sunday, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) reported an incidence of 768.7 for the city of Munich, though updated figures for the end of the festival are not expected until later in the week. Usually, on weekends and public holidays, there is a delay in reports.

In the entire state of Bavaria, the incidence value on Sunday was 692.5.

According to Munich’s public health officer, Beatrix Zurek, bed occupancy in Munich hospitals has also increased. Two weeks ago, 200 beds in Munich were occupied by Covid patients, whereas there are now around 350.

Though a relationship between the sharp rise in infections with Oktoberfest, which ended on Monday, can’t be proven at the moment, it seems very likely, according to experts. A significant increase in Covid incidences has also been shown at other public festivals – about one and a half weeks after the start. 

READ ALSO: Germany’s famed Oktoberfest opens after two-year pandemic hiatus

After a two-year break due to the pandemic, around 5.7 million visitors came to this year’s Wiesn according to the festival management – around 600,000 fewer than at the last Oktoberfest before the pandemic in 2019, when there were 6.3 million.

Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) took to Twitter to comment on the rise in incidence in Munich during the Oktoberfest. “This would not have been necessary if self-tests had been taken before admission,” he said.

“Compared to the price of a measure of beer, €2-3 (for tests) wouldn’t have mattered,” he said.

Even before the start of the Wiesn, he had spoken out in favour of people taking voluntary self-tests. Lauterbach stressed that now is the time for special measures against Covid.

“The development shows what will happen if the states wait too long with the mask obligation in indoor areas,” he added.

READ ALSO: KEY POINTS: Germany’s new Covid-19 rules from October

In neighbouring counties, where many Oktoberfest visitors came from, the number of Covid cases has also risen noticeably.  Beatrix Zurek said that it is unclear, however, how much of a role Oktoberfest played in these figures, as people are currently much more active socially overall, with concerts and other events also taking place throughout the state.

Christoph Spinner, an infections specialist at Munich’s Klinikum, has urged people not to be alarmed by the rising numbers.

“We had expected rising incidences here. We knew that there could be a doubling, tripling, even quadrupling,” he said.

He said that this is no cause for concern, as many people have been vaccinated or have also recovered from previous Covid infections, so any new infections are therefore usually mild.

The virologist advises people over 60 or with pre-existing conditions to get a second booster vaccination, but otherwise said people shouldn’t be alarmed by the rising incidences.

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