The first to open are cinemas, theaters, concert halls, gyms and outdoor gastronomy. Starting today, on April 6, Saarland, which borders France and Luxembourg, is implementing a new closure project. To take advantage of the offer, customers usually have to show a negative Coronavirus test result taken within the past 24 hours. Outdoor meetings of up to 10 people are also permitted.
Saarland Prime Minister Tobias Hans (CDU) said: “After a year of the outbreak, we need to think about more than just closures and restrictions.” He added, “In our model, no new infection should be discovered.” More tests are expected to help isolate patients faster.
For restaurants and for football
The local government is explaining the new system with the example of traffic lights. Openings are possible when the number of new infections per 100,000. During the week (the so-called incidence) remains below 100 (green level). If it exceeds this level for three days (the yellow level), the test obligation will be tightened, for example in the retail trade. If there is a risk of overloading the health system (red level), it is necessary to reverse the easing of restrictions and return to lockdown.
On Easter Monday, the infection rate in the Saarland was 91.3, nearly half the rate two weeks earlier (on March 23, it was 65.6). The launch of the project at a time when the number of infections is increasing across the country has been met with criticism at the federal level. “This is not the time for such considerations,” said Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU).
But for now, the green light is on in the Saarland: Up to five people from two families can meet on the terraces of cafes and restaurants, if they enter their details and reserve a table in advance. If more people meet, they will all need a negative test result. Once again, contact sports like soccer are permitted – and also with negative test results.
Compulsory exams in schools
Rapid antigen tests for the presence of the Coronavirus in the body are at the heart of the project. For a period of less than a month, every German resident has the right to take at least one test per week. New testing centers have opened in the small Saarland region, home to nearly a million people – there are now nearly 400 of them. Saarland is also at the forefront of vaccination speeds in Germany.
We are carefully offering more freedoms. Saarland’s deputy prime minister, Anki Rellinger (SPD), said if last time it counted on us all. More openings are scheduled to open on April 18, including in gastronomy and back into the classroom in schools. Compulsory exams are also planned in high schools – students in schools are tested twice a week.