İrem UZUN -TDO- Germany took its first steps back towards easing COVID-19 lockdown restrictions on Monday, with smaller shops in some regions opening up for the first time in a month after politicians declared the coronavirus "under control". From florists to fashion stores, the majority of shops smaller than 800 square meters are allowed to welcome customers again, in a first wave of relaxations to strict curbs on public life introduced last month. The same applies to car dealerships, book shops and bicycle stores, no matter how large they are.

A ban on gatherings of more than two people and a requirement to stand more than 1.5 meters apart from others in public areas are still in force; so that hairdressers, initially deemed an essential business, will be closed until at least May 4. Museums, bars and leisure centers will also remain closed, while large-scale public events (i.e. concerts and football matches) have been banned until August 31.

Chancellor Angela Merkel and leaders of regional states announced the reopening decision last week. While the first shops will open their doors on Monday, each of Germany's 16 states is set to lift the restrictions at a slightly different pace. After 10 days, on April 30th, the federal government and the federal states will assess the situation again. Depending on the recommendations of the main virologists in the country and current data, they might consider either to ease or to tighten the restrictions.

In Germany, there are 146,398 confirmed cases and 4,706 deaths as of Tuesday.


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