Germany on Wednesday extended coronavirus restrictions until December 20 as it struggles to contain a second wave of the pandemic.
Chancellor Angela Merkel made the announcement after a meeting with the country’s 16 state governors via videoconference.
Merkel said the restrictions could be extended until the beginning of January if necessary.
She called on citizens to follow hygiene and social distancing rules, avoid unnecessary contact with others and to stay at home as much as possible.
Theater, opera and concert halls will remain closed.
Gyms, cinemas, entertainment areas and swimming pools will not operate.
Restaurants, bars and pubs will remain closed, but restaurants will be able to offer takeaway service.
Football matches will continue to be played without an audience.
Body cleaning and care salons, cosmetic and massage salons and tattooists will be completely closed as well as places like brothels.
Stores will be able to accept customers for one person per 10 square meters. In stores larger than 800 square meters, a customer will be accepted for 20 square meters.
Universities will provide distance education
Schools and daycare centers will remain open, but in areas with high numbers of coronavirus cases, local authorities will take additional measures.
Social meetings will be limited to a maximum of five participants from two different households. Children under the age of 14 will be exempted from this rule.
During the Christmas holidays and on New Year’s Eve, families will be allowed to gather with up to 10 people from other households.
Until Jan. 10, citizens were advised not to go on a ski holiday.
Germany on Wednesday reported 410 new deaths from the novel coronavirus, the highest single-day rise in fatalities since the start of the pandemic.
Health authorities reported 18,633 new cases, lower than the record 23,648 registered last Friday.
While the number of new cases has stabilized over the last seven days, the infection rate remained high at 142 cases for every 100,000 people.
The government’s goal has been to reduce infections to 50 cases per 100,000 people.
The number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care units has also increased in recent weeks, reaching 3,770 on Tuesday. More than half of them were on ventilators, according to the DIVI Association for Emergency Medicine.
Germany has the fifth highest number of coronavirus cases in Europe after France, Spain, the UK and Italy.
A total of 984,015 cases have been recorded in the country so far, while 14,984 people have died from the virus.