Hamburg’s First Mayor Peter Tschentscher (SPD) spoke of a “big step towards opening up” after the nine-hour deliberations in an initial statement in the Hamburg city hall. He added: “I remain very skeptical that we do not yet fully understand the effects of the mutations”. That is why even more discipline is needed in adhering to the existing measures for the relaxation decided “at the special request of some countries”. A “relapse” and escalating numbers of infections must be prevented as a matter of urgency. “Everyone must know that we are not on the safe shore,” warned Tschentscher. For the first time, however, a comprehensive concept with several stages was discussed, in which one step fits the next.
In an interview with NDR Info on Thursday morning Tschentscher described the step-by-step plan as “a good concept at a time when we have not yet vaccinated sufficiently”.
Limitations on private contacts are relaxed
The strict limitation of private contacts in the fight against the corona pandemic is to be relaxed from March 8th. Starting next Monday, private get-togethers between one’s own household and another household should be possible again, but limited to a maximum of five people plus children up to 14 years of age. The federal and state governments agreed on this in their deliberations on Wednesday. If the number of new infections per 100,000 inhabitants increases to over 100 within seven days (incidence) on three consecutive days, contacts are again limited to one household and one additional person. If the incidence is over 100, this emergency brake should also apply to all other opening steps.
Bookstores, florists and hardware stores
After a step-by-step opening of hardware stores or flower shops has been initiated in some federal states in the past few weeks, this should now be possible nationwide from March 8th. Then, in addition to the hairdressers, hardware stores, flower shops, garden centers and bookshops in Hamburg will be allowed to reopen.
Retail, zoos and museums
Further relaxation should be made dependent on the development of the infection situation. Even with a stable incidence of less than 100, the retail trade, museums, zoos, botanical gardens and memorials could reopen under certain conditions. The visit should only be possible again by making an appointment. If the incidence is below 50, there should be further easing in these areas.
Gastronomy, theaters, concert halls, cinemas
If the incidence is below 50 and from March 22 at the earliest, outdoor restaurants, theaters, concert and opera houses and cinemas should be able to reopen, accompanied by precautionary measures. With an incidence between 50 and 100, outdoor catering should only be permitted with an appointment. Daily quick tests or self-tests are required for visits to theaters, concert halls, opera houses and cinemas. If the incidence is over 100, the emergency brake should also apply here.
If the incidence is below 100, individual sports alone or in pairs, as well as sports in groups of up to ten children up to 14 years of age, should be allowed outdoors again. With a stable seven-day incidence of less than 50, the requirements are dropped or weakened. Then contact-free sport in small groups in the open air should be possible again.
Incidence: guideline value set from 35 back to 50
Several countries had requested in advance that the guideline value negotiated at the last meeting for the incidence of 35 should be exchanged for a guideline value of 50. Due to the new possibilities for more rapid and self-tests as well as the increasing availability of vaccines, it was agreed during the discussions to use an incidence value of 50 for further opening steps. Tschentscher spoke here of “one level of uncertainty more”.
Corona vaccinations from April in general practitioners’ practices
The federal and state governments have also agreed that family doctor practices should be included in the vaccination strategy within a few weeks. The approximately 60,000 family doctors should therefore carry out vaccinations by April at the latest, when sufficient vaccine is also available for distribution in the area. Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) wants to start a pilot phase from next week. The Ministry of Health had previously emphasized that the countries themselves could decide whether to use general practitioners for vaccination.
Next corona summit on March 22nd
The Federal Chancellor and Prime Ministers want to discuss further steps on March 22nd. Mayor Tschentscher will explain how exactly the resolutions agreed on Wednesday will be implemented in Hamburg after a Senate meeting on Thursday.