From hair salons to hardware shops: What’s allowed to reopen from Monday in Baden-Württemberg?

Starting on Monday March 1st, numerous hair salons, flower shops and home and garden stores in the southwestern state of Baden-Württemberg are allowed to reopen.

From hair salons to hardware shops: What's allowed to reopen from Monday in Baden-Württemberg?
A woman disinfects her shopping cart at a garden centre in Lauffen am Neckar, Baden-Württemberg. Photo: DPA

Hair cuts: what’s allowed (and not)?

For a visit to the hair salon, it will be necessary to register in advance. Men also aren’t allowed to have their beards trimmed because a FFP2, or other medical, face mask is required at all times. 

In addition to hair cuts being allowed again – as is the case in all German states as of Monday – hair washing, colouring, styling and drying is also permitted.

READ ALSO: Germany’s hairdressers reopen after months of shutdown

Which stores can reopen?

Flower stores, nurseries and garden stores, along with DIY stores, will be allowed to sell plants and accessories in the state. Other merchandise areas must be sealed off. 

Both indoor and outdoor areas will be allowed to open.

However, the number of customers per sales area is limited. In stores with up to 800 square meters, only one customer per ten square meters is allowed.

If a store has more than 800 square meters of sales space, only one customer per 20 square meters of space is allowed, according to the state’s new ordinance. 

Baden-Württemberg follows other federal states

State premier Winfried Kretschmann (Greens) initially spoke of only opening garden markets outside, due to a significantly lower risk of infections. The decision to take further opening steps came as a surprise to many, following several cases of more contagious coronavirus variants being detected. 

Baden-Württemberg is following the lead of Bavaria, however, which is also reopening its flower and home appliance stores on Monday. 

READ ALSO: How Bavaria plans to reopen after Covid shutdown

Openings already impacting business

Hairdressers are already seeing business quickly pick up again. Most of the state’s salons are booked up to three or four weeks in advance, said Matthias Moser, managing director of the Hairdressers and Cosmetics Association of Baden-Württemberg, to DPA.

He said that anyone who called for an appointment on Monday could, “with some luck”, manage to get an appointment by Easter weekend on April 2nd.

In the morning, the hairdressers’ phones were ringing off the hook, and numerous online appointment requests were also filling up email inboxes, he added.

Many businesses took reservations immediately after the February 10th announcement that hairdressers would be allowed to open.

“In some cases, customers who were not allowed to keep their appointments because of the December lockdown were also brought forward,” said Moser, whose association says it represents about one-third of the approximately 11,000 southwestern hair salons.

On December 16th, non-essential retail stores, hair salons and schools throughout Germany had to close their doors in response to soaring coronavirus figures.

At the weekend florists were also gearing up for high demand. “We are preparing for Monday as best we can,” said Wolfgang Hilbich, managing director of the Southwest Florists Association. 

According to the association, there are about 1,200 flower stores in Baden-Württemberg alone.

What about other store openings?

Kretschmann, however, dampened hopes that other retail stores would open this week. This is only possible if the 7-day incidence of cases per 100,000 residents remains stable below 35, he said.

As of Monday morning, the state had a 7-day incidence of 52.8, one of the lowest rates around Germany, and reported 455 cases within the past 24 hours.

Nevertheless, Kretschmann said that the state needed to find a way to begin reopening in order to lessen the hardship on businesses which have been closed for months.

The Click&Meet concept, or shopping by appointment, as is being carried out from Monday in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate, could also be a possibility.

The Green politician warned that the current situation was “highly problematic” because of the effects of the more contagious coronavirus variants.

Caution must be exercised, he said, which is why he wants to proceed only “piecemeal”.

Depending on the infection rate, the state could also soon see a possible reopening of museums and restaurants.

On Wednesday March 3rd Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) will meet with Germany’s 16 state premieres to decide on a roadmap out of the shutdown.

READ ALSO: State by state: What are Germany’s plans to reopen public life in March?

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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.”