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Germany imposes partial lockdown for November to control spread of coronavirus

COVID-19 surge sparks new lockdowns in Europe
New lockdowns announced in Germany and France as COVID-19 cases surge in Europe 01:10

Berlin — With coronavirus infections on the rise, German officials announced on Wednesday new restrictions and a partial lockdown for the month of November to try and bring COVID-19's spread back under control. Starting Monday, bars, cinemas and clubs will be closed, restaurants will be limited to delivery and carry-out service, and people will only be allowed to meet outside with members of another household in groups of no more than 10.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel attends a news conference at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, on October 28, 2020.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel Reuters/Fabrizio Bensch/Pool

The goal is for families and friends to be able to meet again during the Christmas season without too many restrictions in place. But for this to happen, the federal and state governments believe that everyone must limit their activities and social contacts.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged the population to stay at home. People should "generally refrain from unnecessary travel and visits, even visiting relatives," she said during a press conference.

In neighboring France, President Emmanuel Macron announced a national lockdown would start at midnight Thursday and last until December 1 at the earliest. Bars and restaurants will be closed, and public gatherings will be banned.

The new rules in Germany follow a spike in coronavirus infections during October with the country shattering records for the daily number of new cases. The country reported a record high of over 22,000 cases Friday; the second-highest number of over 13,000 cases was reported Tuesday.

The rules announced Wednesday are similar to lockdown restrictions in the spring, and they will remain in place until the end of the month for the time being.

Schools and nurseries will remain open. Church services were also not affected by the new measures and can continue if hygiene rules are observed.

Retail stores will remain open, but there are restrictions on how many customers may be inside at a time. Hairdressers will stay open, but beauty and tattoo parlors will be closed because social distancing cannot be maintained.

In addition to cinemas, other entertainment venues will be closed, including amusement parks, concert halls, operas and theaters. Gyms and swimming pools will also shutter, and professional sports are only allowed without spectators.

Merkel said hotels will only be available for "absolutely necessary" and non-tourism purposes.

The chancellor said the restrictions should bring the spread of the virus back under control. The outbreak has reached a point where 75% of infections can't be traced back to their source.

Germany had managed the pandemic relatively well compared to other European nations, but now officials are worried that the health care system will collapse if the number of infections continues to rise.

Elaine Cobbe contributed to this report.

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