Germany back to life, business in May, public life not until autumn

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German industry back at work
Volkswagen reopens its plants in late April. Photo: DPA

Germany back to life, business in May, public life not until autumn

German industry back at work
Volkswagen reopens its plants in late April. Photo: DPA
Good news from Germany. The authorities have decided to start exiting the pandemic lockdown as of early May. Volkswagen is re-opening its German plants.
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Europe’s economic powerhouse is breathing again. Small shops are allowed to re-open on Monday, 20 April, schools and further small businesses, such as hairdressers, on 4 May.

The restrictions on contacts and travelling remain at least until early May, but they may be re-assessed on 30 April, as Angela Merkel is quoted in the media. The authorities “strongly” recommend face masks for local public transport and when shopping.

Germany has achieved a “fragile interim success” (einen “zerbrechlichen Zwischenerfolg“), says Merkel. Since we will continue to live with the virus until a vaccine is available, public life will be opening a much slower pace than business. Restaurants, bars and pubs remain closed. Major events will be banned until autumn. 

Volkswagen is expected to restart its German plants in Wolfsburg, Emden and Hanover on 27 April. The manufacturer reports the protection of workers against the virus is a top priority and the production processes are reengineered to eliminate virus transmission. “Where the minimum distance of 1.5 meters cannot be maintained, the colleagues wear masks,” the Germany news agency DPA quotes a VW representative.

As of 19:00 on 15 April 2020, Germany had 133,209 registered cases, almost 72,000 recovered and 3,592 dead. In the past week, all states, except Saxony, reported a decline in the number of new cases.