Despite tighter controls, Germany‘s coronavirus infection rate increased over the weekend, and Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said he did not foresee any changes until the end of May.
By the end of May, he said, the federal government should be able to detail “simple and brave opening measures” for the summer, helping restaurants to change their reopening schedules and people to schedule vacations.
The measures, according to Scholz, will also explain when visits to festivals, theaters, and soccer stadiums will be permitted.
On Saturday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Germans to follow stricter rules introduced in areas with high infection rates, saying that reforms enacted over the weekend were necessary to prevent a third wave of infections.
Germany is struggling to contain infections, which is made more difficult by the more contagious B117 variant, which first appeared in the United Kingdom.
It also comes after Germany’s vaccination campaign got off to a slow start.
The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) reported on Sunday that Germany’s seven-day average of cases per 100,000 people increased to 166 over the weekend.
Last week, Parliament enacted changes to the Infection Protection Act that would allow the federal government greater authority in the event of a pandemic.
After some of the 16 federal states failed to introduce stricter legislation, Merkel drafted the amendments.
The new legislation allows the government to enforce curfews between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. in districts where the number of incidents per 100,000 people exceeds 100 for three days in a row.
Private meetings and shopping are now subject to tighter restrictions under the new laws.
If cases hit 165 per 100,000 people for three days in a row, schools will be forced to close and return to online classes.