Germany’s state governors and Chancellor Olaf Scholz are expected to agree on Wednesday to proceed with a three-step plan to drop most pandemic restrictions by March 20 as cases decline.
The first step, which could go into effect as soon as states pass the rules, will allow private gatherings of up to 20 people who are vaccinated or who have recovered from the virus, according to a draft of the plans that governors will discuss on Wednesday . Proof of vaccination or recovery from the virus will no longer be required for people to enter shops.
The second step, set to start on March 4 if hospitalization rates are low enough, will allow people without previous immunity to enter bars, restaurants and museums, and outdoor events of up to 25,000 people will be permitted. Nightclubs will be allowed to reopen for people who can show proof of vaccination or recovery from the virus.
The third step, which is aimed to coincide with the first day of spring, will end most restrictions except for mask requirements if case numbers are low enough. The proposal does not specify exact thresholds that would allow the changes to proceed.
Germany, which went through a severe coronavirus wave in December just before Omicron became dominant and drove another wave, currently has strict restrictions for unvaccinated people. For months, they have been barred from many aspects of life in the country and have been allowed to enter only shops that sell essential supplies, such as supermarkets and pharmacies.
The German authorities reported nearly 220,000 new cases on Tuesday and 247 deaths. About 75 percent of the country’s population has received at least two shots, and nearly 56 percent have received at least three.
An independent council of expert advisers warned the government on Monday that cases among people over 60 were continuing to increase.