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Corona: Why company closings are still possible

2021-11-25T09:59:21.613Z

The "epidemic emergency of national scope" is coming to an end. The new Infection Protection Act is available to the federal and state governments. Are there again threats of shutdowns if the corona numbers continue to rise?



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Local in Pirna: Planning ahead is getting more complicated

Photo: Daniel Schäfer / imago images / Daniel Schäfer

Olaf Scholz and his colleagues from the Greens and the FDP had actually planned to announce their great success in negotiations on Wednesday. The light is on, the message should read. Instead, the corona crisis came to the fore. The likely future Chancellor Scholz (SPD) first announced the establishment of a permanent federal-state crisis team in the Chancellery to coordinate the fight against the dramatic development. It is a matter of closely monitoring the situation, checking the effectiveness of measures and developing further steps, said Scholz.

If the numbers continue to develop so dynamically, closer coordination alone will hardly be enough. Especially since the federal government has already given up the most important lever for effective intervention. After more than a year and a half, the determination of the "epidemic emergency of national scope", thanks to which the federal government had special powers and was able to impose measures without parliamentary approval, also ended on Thursday. However, the SPD, Greens and FDP viewed this role critically. Therefore, the three parties brought an amendment to the Infection Protection Act, which came into force on Wednesday. In addition, the countries should have their own, smaller catalog of measures to combat corona.However, the effectiveness of the new regulations is already being called into question.

What do the new regulations mean for the economy?

Are there any further shutdowns or closings of shops?

The instruments that are now available to the federal states are the familiar ones - however, restrictions that interfere particularly deeply with fundamental rights are excluded: blanket exit bans can no longer be imposed or events generally prohibited.

The nationwide closure of restaurants, shops, hotels and schools or universities is no longer planned.

Facilities can only be shut down if there was a corona outbreak there.

A 3G rule now applies nationwide in local public transport and at work: people must be vaccinated, recovered or tested. The federal states also have the option of adopting 3G and 2G regulations in other areas such as gastronomy and of imposing mask and distance requirements. In the future, the state parliaments can independently proclaim an epidemic situation in order to impose further measures.

At least for corporations and larger companies, none of this should mean a lot of getting used to, because 3G is already common practice here.

At most, the bureaucratic effort increases because the employers should now be responsible for checking the evidence.

In the case of a recovery or vaccination certificate, this is done all at once, but the unvaccinated have to submit a negative test every day.

Two of these are to be provided by the employers, the others are to be borne by the respective employee.

Great control effort

For smaller companies and those who usually deploy their employees outside the home, the effort is already greater.

"The new test regime presents our companies with major challenges," explains Steffen Kampeter from the BDA employers' association.

Companies in the building trade, for example, or building cleaners shied away from the large amount of control required and would prefer to see compulsory vaccination at the workplace.

The home office requirement should also mean uncharted territory for only a few companies.

Exceptions like the last lockdown still exist, for example when repair and maintenance tasks have to be carried out.

The measures, on the other hand, make greater use of the sectors that were already suffering from the initial lockdown: hospitality, retail, body-hugging services and leisure facilities.

Because even if the nationwide closure of hotels, restaurants and shops is no longer possible, the development of the corona numbers continues to set the rhythm.

First of all, this leads to a high degree of uncertainty, because advance planning, such as reservations, is always associated with reservations.

Multiple escalation levels

In addition, there are the guidelines that the Prime Minister's Conference agreed on in addition to the new law, and which determine when and which measures must be imposed at the latest.

The measure of this is the hospitalization rate, which shows how many patients per 100,000 inhabitants are admitted to hospital with Covid within seven days.

If the hospitalization rate rises to three, nationwide 2G regulations are mandatory.

If the threshold is six, 2G-plus applies: The federal states can then also request a test from vaccinated and convalescent people.

This is especially true in discos, bars and other places where the risk of infection is particularly high due to the number of people and the more difficult compliance with hygiene measures.

At a rate of nine, state governments must use the full range of instruments. According to the amendment to the law, state governments can then also impose contact restrictions and limit the number of people who are allowed to attend events or visit shops, restaurants and hotels. In extreme cases, this would in fact be tantamount to the closure of entire industries if, for example, the maximum number of seats in restaurants or theaters is so severely restricted that the operation becomes a subsidy business.

In fact, several federal states have already adopted or are planning tightening measures that will feel like a new form of lockdown for the industries concerned.

In Berlin, for example, as of the coming weekend, only those who have been vaccinated and those who have recovered will have access to most shops - with the exception of supermarkets, drugstores and pharmacies.

In addition, in Berlin where 2G rules already apply - for example in the cultural and leisure sector - a mask requirement should apply.

Where this is not possible, for example in discos, a test and distance rules should be necessary as an alternative.

Transition period until December 15th

In Saxony-Anhalt, Thuringia and Bavaria, the parliaments passed even more far-reaching restrictions on public life prior to the end of the epidemic emergency. In the catering industry, a curfew should apply from 10 p.m. Clubs, bars and discos will be closed completely, Christmas markets will not be allowed to open in the first place. Likewise, swimming pools, saunas and thermal baths have to close if no school sports are taking place there. In Bavaria, cultural and sporting events also have to be satisfied with a maximum of 25 percent of the possible audience.

In many areas such as cultural and sporting events, trade fairs and conferences, a 2G-Plus regulation should even apply. That means access only for vaccinated and convalescent people who also pass a negative rapid test beforehand. Exceptions to the 2G regulations apply to wholesalers and retailers, medical and therapeutic services as well as sports and music offers for unvaccinated young people who are regularly tested negative in schools.

The federal states are making use of a transition period, which is valid until December 15th. If, before the epidemic situation expired, countries have therefore imposed measures that go more deeply than intended by the new law, these rules remain in place for the time being. Industry-specific lockdowns, for example, which are no longer part of the new catalog of measures, can continue to apply until mid-December.

The Union in particular is already expressing doubts as to whether the countries will still have enough leeway for measures after this point in time.

The Union-led federal states therefore only approved the new law in the Bundesrat on one condition: Chancellor-designate Scholz promised that the federal government would evaluate the new law by December 9th and, if necessary, tighten it up again.

The new catalog of measures is not intended to be permanent either.

The rules apply from now until March 19, 2022, after which they can be extended once more - or expire.

Source: spiegel

All business articles on 2021-11-25

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