March 22: The following guidelines are now in effect:
- Residents should continue to keep all contact to people not living in the same household to an absolute minimum.
- When residents are in public, they should keep an at least 1.5 meters distance from all those not part of their household.
- It is only permitted for people to be out in public space either alone, with one other person who does not live in the same household, or with those who do live in the same household.
- Of course, going outside for the purposes of: getting to work, going to emergency daycare, grocery shopping, doctors appointments, attending meetings, required appointments and tests, helping others, or getting exercize or fresh air, as well as other necessary activities are still permitted.
- Parties in public spaces, apartments, or private institutions are unacceptable given the current situation throughout the country. Refusal to adhere to these contact restrictions will result in surveillance by the police or other law enforcement agencies and will be punished.
- All restaurants and business serving food will be closed. Delivery and pick-up service for the purpose of at home consumption, however, will still be allowed.
- Businesses specializing in personal hygiene such as hair salons, cosmetic studios, massage practices, tattoo studios and other, similar business will be closed, as this work requires very close personal contact. Medically necessary treatments will, however, still be possible.
- In all businesses, especially those with a lot of foot traffic, it is important to adhere to the suggested hygiene measures for the safety of customers and workers alike.
- These measures will be in effect for at least the next two weeks.
Prime Minister of Lower Saxony, Stephan Weil (SPD), stated his position: “We were successful today in agreeing to a unified approach to restricting personal contact on the federal level. In Lower Saxony, as well as all of Germany, it now applies that all contact between individuals not living within the same household has to be brought to an absolute minimum. That is the only way we will be able to slow down the speed of infection of the Corona Virus SARS-CoV-2. Drastic measures taken now to prevent personal contact will help curb the uncontrollable nature of infection and prevent further disadvantages brought on by a lock down.”
Leaving your home is not what is dangerous, said Weil, but rather engaging in direct personal contact with people with whom you do not live. It is important and medically necessary to continue to get exercize outside in the fresh air. However, even outside, contact with another person remains risky.
Weil also said, “I realize that the intensification of these measures limits the freedom of the people of Lower Saxony. It is, however, necessary, as the current situation remains very serious. We have to do everything we can to prevent further deaths caused by the Corona virus. This past weekend marked the first deaths in Lower Saxony. It is imperative that we do our best to reduce the rate of infection at this time. We must do everything in our power to ensure that our healthcare system remains strong and able to assist those who need it. Even while we are reducing our personal contact to one another, I ask that we stick together and show solidarity. Please do what you can—pick up the phone, reach out digitally, or write a good old-fashioned letter—to keep in good contact and to further strengthen your relationships with those around you who are especially lonely and need of assistance. We help each other get through this difficult time by keeping the required minimum distance.”
March 20: Restaurants and Cafes to close completely starting on March 21st, delivery service still allowed
Lower Saxony Prime Minister Stephan Weil (SPD) told of a new order at the state press conference on March 20: all restaurants and cafes in Lower Saxony must close their doors starting Saturday evening at 6 pm. According to Weil, all northern German states had agreed to this measure geared at preventing the spread of the Corona virus. Deliveries and pick ups are the exception to the rule. As Weil said, “no one should worry about not being able to get a pizza from their favorite Italian restaurant.” The purposed of this measure is simply to prevent that too many people gather together in one room.
Weil emphasized that there will be no lock down. However, there have been restrictions on leaving your home in Lower Saxony since March 16, including gatherings of large numbers of people no longer being allowed. Right now, the limit on gatherings is 10 people, though that will probably be further reduced. “There will be adjustments over the next few days, but very few of us will affected,” said Weil.
March 16: Closure of cultural institutions, shops, playgrounds, etc.
As of Tuesday, March 17, 2020 at 6 a.m., many cultural institutions, shops, and playgrounds must remain closed. Prime Minister of Lower Saxony Weil announced further protective measures on March 16, which are being coordinated nationwide and will be in effect until April 18.
At the press conference, the State Government of Lower Saxony disclosed additional measures to fight the Corona Virus pandemic.
The following businesses will remain open:
- Businesses essential to daily needs, such as groceries and feed stores, farmer’s markets, delivery services, pharmacies, medical supply stores, drug stores, gas stations, banks, post offices, laundromats, animal supply stores, hardware stores, and wholesale trade will remain open. The ban on stores being open on Sundays will also be lifted. Rules about keeping a safe physical distance still apply at these locations.
The following will be closed:
- Bars, clubs, discos, and similar establishments
- Theaters, opera houses, museums, concert houses, libraries, and other similar institutions
- Trade fairs, exhibitions, movie theaters, zoos, theme parks, recreational business (indoor and outdoor), special markets, casinos/gambling halls, and other similar establishments
- Brothels and other business offering sexual services (ex. Lovemobile)
- Sporting events and exercising in private and public sport facilities, gyms, fitness studios, fields, tracks, swimming pools, saunas, and similar facilities
- All playgrounds, including indoor playgrounds
- All retail outlets, in particular outlet centers, including those in shopping centers
All gatherings of people in enclosed spaces and in public are prohibited, including:
- Meetings in clubs and other sports and leisure facilities, taking advantage of offers of adult education centers, music schools and other public and extracurricular private educational institutions as well as bus tours
- Gatherings in churches, mosques, synagogue, temples, or in other houses of faith, including meetings in community centers
- All public events, excluding meetings of local representatives and committees as well as the state parliament and associated committees
- All outdoor gatherings of 10 people or more
- All private events with more than 50 guests
The goal of these measures is to slow down the rate of infection. The measures will be reviewed as to their efficacy after a period of twelve days.