Germany’s hairdressers reopen after months of shutdown

Germany's hairdressers reopen after months of shutdown
A woman getting her hair cut from hairdresser Shan Rahimkhan in Berlin on March 1st. Photo: DPA
Despite stagnating Covid-19 numbers in Germany, a slight relaxation of lockdown measures happened Monday with the reopening of hair salons.

Many people were breathing a sigh of relief on Monday as they were able to get their hair trimmed for the first time in months.

However, customers and staff do have to follow strict health rules, such as wearing an FFP 2 mask or other medical mask.

Hairdressers and barbers were ordered to close on December 16th in a bid to bring coronavirus infections down in Germany. Non-essential shops and schools were also told to shut then.

Restaurants, bars, cafes, hotels, leisure and cultural facilities have been shut since the beginning of November, except for takeaway food.

Most states began to gradually open schools from around February 22nd. And some states, including Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg, have now also allowed other facilities to open from March 1st, including garden centres, flower shops, chiropody salons and driving schools.

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Chancellor Angela Merkel and the 16 federal state leaders made the decision to open hair salons nationwide at the last talks on February 10th, citing personal hygiene reasons.

This Wednesday, Merkel and the state leaders will meet again to discuss the next steps for the reopening of public life in Germany.

Most people in Germany are desperate to see life get back to some kind of normality after months of strict lockdown measures. But health experts are also warning that the country could be at the beginning of a third pandemic wave due to the spread of more contagious virus variants.

What’s the latest on the Covid situation in Germany?

On Monday, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) reported 4,732 new Covid-19 infections within a day and 60 deaths. Last week, 4,369 new cases were reported within 24 hours as well as 62 deaths.

READ ALSO: German health minister expresses ‘delight’ in drop in Covid-19 infections among elderly

On Monday, the case numbers are usually lower because less testing is done at the weekend.

According to the RKI, the number of new infections reported within seven days per 100,000 inhabitants (7-day incidence) was 65.8 nationwide on Monday morning – higher than the previous day (63.8). Four weeks ago, on February 1st, the incidence was 91. The record high (197.6) was recorded on December 22nd.

However, Germany has recently begun testing more people again so this could affect numbers.

The only state below 50 new infections per 100,000 people in seven days is Rhineland-Palatinate, with 49.7.

Baden-Württemberg (currently 52.0), Schleswig-Holstein (50.2) and Berlin (61.8) have fallen below the national average.

The nationwide seven-day reproductive number (R) was 1.08 (previous day 1.11), according to the RKI situation report on Sunday. This means that 100 Covid-infected people on average go on to infect 108 others.

The R number represents the infection incidence 8 to 16 days ago. If it is below 1 for a longer period of time, the incidence of infection is decreasing. It has recently gone up in Germany, again fuelling fears of a coronavirus resurgence.


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