Smaller stores reopening in Germany as country eases restrictions
© TOBIAS SCHWARZ/AFP via Getty Images

Germany, one of the European nations least devastated by the coronavirus pandemic, will lift an order closing smaller retailers Monday.

The lifting of the restrictions will allow retail spaces smaller than 800 square meters, or 8,611, to reopen their doors, along with businesses such as bookstores, car dealerships and bike shops, according to Bloomberg. More heavily-trafficked spaces like restaurants, bars and gyms will remain closed and the government is strongly recommending citizens wear face masks.

Around the same time as its shutdown order, the country implemented a comprehensive testing regimen and it has seen a considerably lower fatality rate than Spain, Italy and the U.K., with Health Minister Jens Spahn crediting German citizens for practicing social distancing precautions.

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Some states will also see a further, statewide loosening of restrictions, such as North Rhine-Westphalia, which will allow larger furniture retailers to reopen, whereas Berlin will hold off on reopenings until Wednesday to better prepare, Bloomberg reported. Bavaria, which has seen the most deaths in the nation, will keep stores closed through April 27.

Germany has also seen the most confirmed recoveries from the virus of any nation, with more than 85,000, according to Bloomberg. As of Sunday afternoon the country has seen 144,387 total cases and 4,547 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Chancellor Angela Merkel announced a countrywide plan for drawing down lockdown measures last Wednesday after speaking with Germany’s 16 state governors, saying officials will revaluate the situation April 3. Merkel said plans are underway for the country’s schools to gradually reopen beginning May 4.