BERLIN – Agreement on local closures

Germany’s federal government has reached an agreement with the states on the ability to institute an entry and exit-ban in the event of a coronavirus outbreak. While entire districts will not be sealed off, highly localised restrictions are possible.

Specifically, the paper issued by the leaders claims that any “unnecessary mobility into and out of the particularly affected areas” will be restricted when the levels of infection continue to rise and officials cannot confirm that they have identified and broken the chains of infection.

However, it also notes that “the sealing off of entire districts, for example in Hamburg or Berlin, is not possible,” and therefore, any restrictions of this type will only be implemented in smaller areas. Additionally, the measures will not come automatically, as “decisions must be made flexibly on site by the responsible authorities.”

This agreement comes after a massive outbreak of Covid-19 at a meatpacking plant in the northwestern district of Gütersloh in mid-June. With more than 1,500 employees testing positive for the virus, the entire district, as well as a neighbouring one, were forced to go back into lockdown to curb the spread of infection. Both have since significantly lowered the number of active infections and are no longer in lockdown.

(Sarah Lawton |

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