The Covid-19 pandemic has changed life as we know it. We are now online more than ever, working from home, educating from home, and socialising from home.
As a German school with German native teachers, we are closely connected to the news from both Ireland and home.
As it stands today, June 23rd, there are a reported 192,532 confirmed cases, and 8,979 deaths in Germany, with the first confirmed case on January 27th. Thankfully Germany has seen a high recovery rate, and have started to ease restrictions.
School and Work
Germany started a trial run of children reentering schools back in May. The schools chosen to test the new rules saw a number of measures in place; teachers wearing masks at all times, self administered tests of students every four days, with result within hours, class sizes only one third to ensure safe social distancing, staggered break times, windows and doors open at all time to ensure air circulation. The German school term finishes at the end of June, with the hope for a full return to classrooms in August/September.
At the start of May, the German Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS) recently published a so-called SARS-CoV-2 Occupational Health and Safety Standard document containing notes and guidelines for more safety and health at work. The document found here, outlines a number of measures including; a 1.5m minimum distance between people, no persons with respiratory symptoms or fever should stay on the company premises, protective masks should be worn if a distance of 1.5m cannot be maintained, hand hygiene facilities should be available to all employees, one way system of traffic in the workplace and more.
Although the German economy has shrunk due to the pandemic, the reopening of workplaces, schools and businesses will assist financial recovery, alongside the VAT reduction, and loan support for small firms.
Shopping and Entertainment
Small shops were given the green light to open in May, with masks obligatory in public places. All shops must have a one way system, with restrictions on numbers entering the shop. The 16 federal states have been given control over their restrictions, with many larger shops and facilities opening in May with the same precautions.
Museums, Religious services, Restaurants and bars reopened in May, in many of the states under strict guidelines. The German football league Bundesliga, returned on May 15th behind closed doors, with strict hygiene rules. This is the first major football league in Europe to resume after the pandemic.
As of June 15th, The Federal German government opened borders to EU countries, with a quarantine recommendation for people coming from a country deemed as high risk. Public transport is running as usual, with an obligation to wear a mask at all times.
German hotels reopened in May under strict hygiene rules, with a 40% reduction in capacity.
Although the German borders are open, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade advises all Irish citizens to avoid non-essential travel overseas until further notice. A mandatory 14 day quarantine period is required upon your return, alongside a completion of a public health passenger locator form.
If you are thinking of taking a trip later this year to Germany, you can find all the German travel updates here.
German Company develops Covid-19 Vaccine
German pharmaceutical company BioNTech and US based Pfizer have begun testing a potential vaccine for the new coronavirus on volunteers. In May the first volunteers, healthy 18-55 year olds were dosed with the vaccine in New York, and soon to be followed by older adults 65-85 upon initial evidence of safety and immunogenicity. This is an exciting time for Germany, but also for the world, with hope of the vaccine to be available mid 2021. You can find out more about this development here.
German Covid-19 Recovery Package
Germany has recently released a €130 billion Covid-19 recovery package to boost the economic recovery from the pandemic.
Chancellor Angela Merkel announced a number of measures to secure jobs and to assist the economy including:
VAT cut from 19% to 16%, from 1 July until 31 December
A loan support programme for small firms who have seen their drop by more than 60%
A €300 one-off payment for every child in the country
A fund to assist in meeting climate change goals, including incentives for electric cars, renewable technologies and more
Municipalities in debt will receive financial aid, with public spending on infrastructure and housing
As a comprehensive German language school, we want to not only teach you about the German language, but also keep you updated on the country’s current state. We are very proud of the work done to stop the spread of the virus, and to help the country recover. We are also very proud to be working in Ireland with similar successes and recovery.