Germany to reopen shops and schools
Published: May 06, 2020 06:03 PM

An employee of German car maker Volkswagen works at the assembly line of the company's plant in Wolfsburg, northern Germany, after production at the plant restarted on Monday, amid the new coronavirus pandemic. Photo: AFP

Germany will take new steps toward normalization in May, including reopening shops and schools after weeks of shutdowns imposed to control the spread of the coronavirus, according to a draft agreement seen by AFP on Wednesday.

"Even after initial steps to open up were introduced from April 20, the number of new infections remained low," the document read, with "no new wave of infection" so far detected - justifying a series of bolder steps to reopen.

So far, only certain children like those soon facing exams had been allowed to return to class.

But now kindergartens and primary schools will also reopen from next week.

"Step-by-step, schools should make possible the education of all pupils while implementing appropriate hygiene measures and upholding distancing rules," the document read.

Regarding shops, German politicians said all could reopen but requirements "for hygiene, managing entry and avoiding queues forming" would be imposed.

So far only shops up to a floor space of 800 square meters had been authorized to resume trading.

States will also have a free hand over whether to reopen restaurants beginning on Saturday, as well as on decisions affecting theatres, concert halls, nightclubs and gyms.

Meanwhile the one major coronavirus restriction set to remain in place is a ban on large gatherings like sports matches, cultural events or festivals.

Such events will remain forbidden until "at least August 31," according to the text.