German hair salons reopen as COVID rules eased | News | DW | 01.03.2021
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German hair salons reopen as COVID rules eased

Hairdressers in Germany are reopening for business, along with hardware stores and flower shops in certain states. However, a stalled decline in infections means most coronavirus rules will remain in place.

In Berlin, hair salons opened as early as midnight to make the most of the rule change

In Berlin, some hair salons opened on the stroke of midnight to make the most of the rule change

Hairdressers in Germany opened their doors again on Monday, after being closed for the past two-and-a-half months under strict lockdown measures.

The country is balancing a desire to return to normal with a concern about new strains of the virus, and a stall in the decline of new cases.

What are the latest changes?

Hairdressers are to open across Germany, provided they follow strict hygiene restrictions and adopt a reservations-only system. Most of the other major alterations vary from state to state.

Certain states, including Germany's most populous state of North Rhine-Westphalia, are to allow businesses such as flower shops and hardware stores to open.

Some states are allowing music in schools, but with possible restrictions on singing and wind instruments deemed more likely to spread the virus.

States including Bavaria — Germany's largest state by land mass — are also set to give the green light for driving lessons to begin again, and for foot care studios to reopen.

Watch video 01:52

Germany's rocky road out of the coronavirus lockdown

What about Germany's other lockdown measures?

Elementary school pupils returned to their classrooms across much of Germany last week, after a decision last month to extend most, but not all, lockdown measures until March 7.

Most shops have stayed closed since tighter restrictions were introduced on December 16.

Restaurants, bars, sports and leisure venues have all been closed since November 2.

Hotels in Germany are currently closed to all but business travelers.

Watch video 02:46

Bavarian border district becomes Germany's COVID hot spot

Leaders seek safe way forward

Chancellor Angela Merkel and Germany's 16 state premiers are expected to meet on Wednesday to decide how to proceed with the rest of Germany's coronavirus restrictions beyond the first week of March.

Current lockdown measures have been credited with helping bring down daily new infection numbers.

However, experts last week warned that the declining infection rate had stabilized and even started climbing slightly, with growing concerns about the spread of new virus variants.

The number of coronavirus cases in Germany went up by 4,732 to 2,447,068, according to figures released early on Monday by the country's Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases. COVID-linked fatalities went up by 60, to 70,105 in total.

rc/msh (AP, dpa)