Germans joyfully welcomed the re-opening of its first businesses on Monday after four months of lockdown.
“I think it’s wonderful. I think it’s really wonderful,” said Isabella Mewes, who lives in the German town of Erding.
Erding has a 7-day infection rate below 50 and can therefore re-open its shops, a move that has pleased many of its citizens.
“My jacket has been broken for such a long time and now I will try to find a shops where I can buy a new one, and I am looking forward to it,” Mewes said, with a big smile on her face.
“Thank God shops are open again. You can clearly tell: parking lots are full, people are in the shops. It’s all positive,” said Alexander Scheufler, while holding an ice-cream in his hand.
Under the country’s new five-stage plan, up to five people from two households will be allowed to meet, with children under 14 exempt.
Retailers can reopen provided case numbers are below 50 cases per 100,000 people over seven days in the relevant region.
If the metric rises above 100 on three consecutive days, the emergency brake will take effect and restrictions revert to those in force before March 8.
Later stages will see restaurant terraces open, and museums, theatres and cinemas reopening for people who can present a recent negative test result. Finally, open-air events with up to 50 people will be allowed, and contact sports inside.
In addition to that, the government will pay for all asymptomatic citizens to have a quick coronavirus test at least once a week. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and state leaders will discuss further steps on March 22.