Chancellor Angela Merkel announced that Germany will extend its current lockdown into 2021 as coronavirus cases continue to surge.
The partial lockdown, which has been in effect since Nov. 2, will now affect nonessential businesses such as bars, gyms and movie theaters through Jan. 10. Schools and many other businesses have remained open under the lockdown, Bloomberg noted.
Government officials have stated that they will reconvene on Jan. 4 to determine if further restrictions are necessary. Merkel noted that Germany is still experiencing high rates of infection and that the country will need to see those numbers decrease, according to Bloomberg.
The surge in cases has reportedly also caused tensions between lawmakers in the country as they struggle to determine how to effectively protect the economy in a pandemic. Merkel’s administration has been reimbursing businesses for 75 percent of lost sales but has said that it cannot continue to provide funding totaling nearly $18.2 billion a month, the news outlet noted.
German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier warned of an extended lockdown period last month, stating that measures could remain in place a few months into 2021.
“We have three to four long winter months ahead of us,” he said at the time.
Germany has experienced more than 1 million total cases and has seen 17,123 deaths since the pandemic began, according to The New York Times.