Renewed corona lockdown forces closure of shops and eateries
The senate in Hamburg has adopted a Germany-wide lockdown under which schools and non-essential shops as well as eateries will close from Wednesday (December 16,2020) in the middle of the normally busy Christmas season. The lockdown remains in effect until January 10, 2021 initially and comes as coronavirus figures remain stubbornly high across Germany.
Grocery stores to remain open
The lockdown also forces hairdressers, beauty salons, massage parlours and tattoo parlours to close their doors. Eateries will be limited to out-of-home sales and delivery services. Grocery stores and markets, pickup and delivery services, beverage markets, health food stores, pharmacies, medical supply stores, drug stores, opticians, hearing aid dispensers, petrol stations, garages, banks, post offices, dry cleaners, laundromats, newsstands, pet supply stores, wholesalers and Christmas tree sales outlets may remain open during the lockdown.
Senate to continue corona aid
Norbert Aust, President of the Chamber of Commerce, stressed: "Existence is increasingly at stake for retail, gastronomy and several other directly and indirectly affected industries." The state and the senate must ensure proper compensation and prevent insolvencies as a result of the restrictions, Aust added. Hamburg's protective shield with a volume of more than EUR 1.5 billion for corona-hit businesses will remain in place, the senate has announced. The aid includes multiple measures such as the Hamburg Stabilisation Fund, the Corona Recovery Fund, IFB credit programme as well as tax and fee aid. The German government is offering companies hit by the corona crisis, the solo self-employed and self-employed members of the liberal professions bridging aid, advance payments and unbureaucratic partial write-offs.
Special restrictions at Christmas
The contact restrictions in effect since December 1, 2020, will remain in effect until January 10, 2021, including on New Year's Eve. Private gatherings with friends, relatives and acquaintances are limited to one's own household and to one other household, and to a maximum of five people. The restrictions will be eased slightly from December 24-26, 2020 to allow private gatherings with four people who do not belong to one's own household, even if this includes more than two households or five people. Sales of fireworks (and setting them off) have been banned in 2020 for fear of overwhelming hospitals.