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Germany tightens COVID-19 lockdown rules ahead of Christmas

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Germany tightens COVID-19 lockdown rules ahead of Christmas 1

Germany will close most of its shops Wednesday through the new year — bringing its Christmas shopping season to a halt in implementing tougher COVID-19 lockdown measures.

Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Sunday that nonessential stores will close until at least Jan. 10 as part of the nationwide lockdown.

“I would have wished for lighter measures. But due to Christmas shopping the number of social contacts has risen considerably,” Merkel told reporters.

Under the new lockdown, essential stores such as supermarkets and pharmacies in addition to banks are permitted to remain open.

Hair salons, beauty salons and tattoo shops were ordered to shut down.

The government will provide around 11 billion euros ($13.3 billion) a month in aid to affected businesses.

The stores forced to close may receive up to 90% of business costs, or up to 500,000 euros ($605,580) a month to stay afloat, Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said.

Germany has been under a partial lockdown for six weeks that included the closure of restaurants and bars.

“‘Lockdown light’ has had an impact, but it was not sufficient,” Bavaria’s prime minister Markus Soeder said. “The situation is out of control.”

There were 20,200 new cases added to the country’s tally, bringing the total to more than 1.3 million, according to data Sunday from the Robert Koch Institute

With Post wires

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