For the latest CoVid-19 measures announced by Angela Merkel at a press conference on May 6th, please check here:  

Berlin, April 15th 2020

Chancellor Angela Merkel and her so-called “Corona Cabinet” addressed the current CoViD-19 situation in a press conference and announced changes to the measures that are currently in place.

In short:

  • From April 20 onwards, retailers with less than 800sqm will be allowed to reopen if they can assure physical distancing and provide a concept to avoid queues forming in front of the stores.
  • Hairdressers are allowed to reopen on May 04, if they comply with strict protective measures.
  • Restaurants and bars, as well as theaters, cinemas, and churches, will remain closed until further notice.
  • Daycare facilities and Kitas will remain closed.
  • Schools will slowly reopen again - prioritized according to the respective need for final exams. Pupils that are facing final examinations now will return first.
  • All big events, such as festivals, concerts, or big sports events will not be allowed until August 31.
  • People in Germany will continue to be allowed to leave the house to meet up with a maximum of one person from outside of their household. Also, the minimum distance of 1.5 m will continue to be in place.
  • Officials “strongly recommend” wearing a face mask in public transport and when shopping, however, it remains nonobligatory.

Here's the full English transcript of her speech during today's press conference:

"Ladies and gentlemen, in the last few days we have been working very intensively on our meeting today and today we discussed with each other via video conference where our country stands concerning the coronavirus epidemic. I would like to thank the federal states that we have all followed through with the common policy we decided on.

And that we have also met today to jointly design the next phase. What has led us today? First of all, I would like to once again very warmly thank all the people in Germany, the citizens who have changed their lives, who have reduced contacts, who accept the restrictions, not because they want to please the government, but because they want to help their fellows. This is something very strong and important that our country is experiencing at the moment, even with all the restrictions, and it shows that if something really good is to arise in our country in Germany, then this has happened with the citizens and through the citizens, and I am grateful for this.

We have achieved something, as confirmed to us today by the Robert Koch Institute, and we have achieved something, which was by no means certain at the beginning. Namely that our doctors, our caretakers, all those who work in the medical field in hospitals have not been overwhelmed.

They are making enormous efforts and many are also working under the greatest pressure. But it has been so that our health system could be kept up and I would like to extend my warmest thanks to all employees in the health sector, including the local doctors and the many people who work in this field, as well as those working in elderly homes and similar facilities.

During this hour I am thinking about the infected people who are experiencing or have already experienced CoViD-19. We also know that unfortunately, we have already had a lot of victims to mourn. What we have achieved is an intermediate success, no more and no less. And I emphasize it is a fragile intermediate success.

Mr. Wieler from the Robert-Koch Institut has told us that once again today. We have developed the factors that speak for that in a good direction, but we do not have much room for maneuver. We need to continue to be very focused now, and that is why our consultation has determined that we can’t give a false promise now. Even if the best intentions are behind it. Instead, we must understand that we have to live with the virus as long as there are no medicines and, in particular, no vaccines. We must secure the successes we have achieved. And that is why when we discuss which steps we take, that we all want to take towards allowing a little more of public life, then we have to be extremely cautious. This has also shaped our consultation today because it is about people. We have agreed that citizens must continue to maintain a minimum distance of 1.5 meters in public places as well as that people can only go to public places alone or together with one person belonging to the same household.

Violations will continue to be punished by the law enforcement authorities. It is very important to me to quickly recognize infection chains in the future - and I thank the states which have also increased their health authorities to a large extent - if we now allow more public life in small steps, then it is very important that we can trace the infection chains better.

It must be our goal to be able to trace every single chain of infection, we are working on an app for this, but above all else, it is the task of the health authorities. If we can do this, then we can also restrict infection hot-spots and then easing restrictions in public life is no longer so serious, because we know where infection hot-spots arise. If we do not have this, then we will not be so successful and therefore it is of very crucial importance.

Of course, we want to have a good supply of testing capabilities. We want to work on medical protective equipment; we have spoken in great detail about the issue of so-called "everyday face masks" and we are advocating that it is advisable, so to speak necessary, to also use these everyday face masks in public transport and when shopping. I believe that this is an important point that has now been further developed in our decisions, so we will urgently recommend the use of such everyday face masks to citizens, especially in public transport and when shopping.

We believe that with each day we will now receive more of these everyday face masks and that this should then also serve to protect other people. And if many do this, then also to protect themselves. We have talked about nursing homes and senior residences, it will be very important here, that we develop individual concepts, to avoid the social isolation of people in these residences and at the same time keep safety standards. We have of course conducted a detailed discussion about day-care facilities, schools, and universities. And I know just how many people here in Germany are following this discussion - because of course, it is a very difficult situation for parents. When their children cannot meet their friends; when there is only emergency daycare; when most are at home.

Yet despite this, we must comply with the requirements of infection protection to safeguard human lives and we must proceed very carefully, step by step. We have achieved this today by initially focusing on the final classes that have to take exams now, followed by those taking exams after that or are about to change schools.

After that, we expect that the Conference of Ministers of Culture will present us with a detailed concept, just as the Conference of Ministers of Youth, because we can only very slowly, in tiny steps, open schools after 04 May.

This will have to happen in smaller groups, there must be a school bus concept, there must be a concept for breaks, so it will require a high logistic effort to carry out and therefore it needs intensive preparation. I know how much doing without this still means for parents, but I think it is simply necessary when we say that we have to live with this virus in a pandemic. Hairdressers companies must also design hygiene concepts and will then be able to resume their work from 04 May, provided the protective measures are sufficient.

We have spoken at length about the great good of religious freedom and also about the events that naturally take place in churches. I would like to say a very heartfelt thank you to the churches because they have shown a lot of imagination over Easter, that although no divine services took place, people could also live their faith. We want religious celebrations, events, and meetings of other faith communities to not take place for now. But there will be a conversation this week between the State Premiers and the Federal Ministry of the Interior on the question of how to find a consensual way forward.

It is important that we have not stopped economic activity as a whole, but only where there is a public. Here, of course, we have dealt very thoroughly with the issue of opening further shops. We have agreed that shops up to 800-square-meters can open again. However, with good hygiene concepts. We also have to consider that big queues do not form on the streets. This is also a part of their area of responsibility, so this will require a lot of preparatory work.

We will invest a lot in research, this is indisputable, to research even more; to make our contribution; to investigate how many people have already had this infection; how we can contribute to the development of vaccines; which medicines are important. And I can say that we are doing everything in this area, particularly on the part of the Federal Government with very generous financial support, so that Germany as a research country can also make its contribution to tackling this pandemic.

Ultimately, we have agreed to reconvene and reassess the current development every 14 days. We want to see which impact the ease of the measures will have and will thus reconvene on April 30th to discuss what will happen after May 3rd. After that, we will take it step by step and everything will depend heavily on the development of the number of infections. As I said before, we do not have much room for maneuver so I hope everybody will continue to adhere to the rules. For it is these rules that allow a bit more of the public life we are used to. Just a different one during a pandemic, with different rules."