Bridge or light: what the lockdown terms mean

Harder or softer Lockdown, With bridge or as a breakwater? Over the course of the pandemic, policymakers have attempted to combat the Corona pandemic with several packages of measures.

The goal was always to keep the number of new infections as low as possible to prevent the health system from collapsing. Read here what distinguishes the individual lockdowns from each other.

When did the lockdown begin?

The first lockdown took effect on 22. March 2020 in force. Unlike many neighboring European countries, however, the federal and state governments refrained from introducing curfews. Contact restrictions were enacted instead.

  • For example, only meetings with one other person were permitted, provided a minimum distance of two meters was maintained at the time
  • Restaurants, bars, clubs, cultural institutions and service businesses such as hairdressers or massage practices had to close down
  • With a duration of seven weeks, the first lockdown was comparatively short. On 11. May already restaurants and bars could reopen
  • On 15. June, further relaxations went into effect – life largely returned to normal in the summer of 2020

What was the "lockdown light" all about??

There was talk of a "lockdown light" for the first time at the end of June 2020. After a Corona outbreak at the Tonnies meat factory, public life was temporarily restricted again in two counties in North Rhine-Westphalia. The measures remained regionally limited, with some states introducing entry restrictions for people from the affected counties.

  • Cinemas, museums and gyms were closed, for example
  • Contact restrictions were also reimposed
  • Restaurants and bars, on the other hand, were allowed to continue opening

Representatives of the two affected counties had described the measures – compared to those from the nationwide lockdown that ended shortly before – as a "lockdown light". CDU District Administrator Sven Adenauer, for example, said, "If you compare this to what we had in March, this is something you can come to terms with. Not nearly as hard and limited to just one week."

What was the purpose of the "breakwater lockdown"??

On 2. November 2020, Germany went into "breakwater lockdown". The measures – which have also been called "lockdown light" by various politicians such as Bavaria's Minister President Markus Soder (CSU) – were intended to allow a comparatively normal Christmas after a comparatively normal summer with few restrictions. The idea behind the "breakwater" was to break the second Corona wave. Temporary tough measures should prevent the exponential growth of Corona infections.

  • The rules and requirements introduced for this purpose included the closure of hotels and restaurants, retail trade with the exception of stores for daily needs, the closure of sports venues and all cultural facilities throughout the country
  • Schools and daycare centers also eventually had to close and switch to distance learning and emergency care
  • For this purpose strict contact restrictions came into force
  • The obligation to wear a medical mouth-nose protection when shopping or on public transport was introduced

Even with the tightening of the "breakwater lockdown" to 1. December, however, the hoped-for effect largely failed to materialize. Instead of noticeably reducing the number of infections, as was the case with the first lockdown, this time they remained at a high level. Winfried Kretschman, Minister President of Baden-Wurttemberg, described the "breakwater lockdown" in retrospect as a mistake. The chancellor also acknowledged in a government statement on 11. February mistakes in the pandemic fight a.

What was the "Easter calm"??

The "Easter shutdown" was intended to control the incidence of infections over the Easter holidays in 2021. Maundy Thursday and Easter Saturday should be equated with legal holidays as one-time rest days. This would remove public life from the 1. until the 5. April came to a virtual standstill.

At the regulation, however, came quickly Criticism many questions had remained unanswered. Finally, the German Chancellor a spontaneous shift by the federal and state governments and overturned the "Easter rest" that had been decided only a few days earlier. Afterwards, she appeared before the press and publicly asked for forgiveness for the confusion.

Was there a hard lockdown?

Germany has never experienced a hard lockdown before. Although from the 2. November 2020 to the Corona summit on 3. March 2021 very strict rules. A real hard lockdown, however, would encroach even more deeply on people's liberties.

  • In Portugal, for example, where the pandemic had largely spiraled out of control after Christmas, the government imposed drastic curfews. Only those who wanted to go to the doctor, to work or to buy groceries were allowed to leave the house.
  • Ireland, which saw an explosion of Corona infections after Christmas, also had to submit to a hard lockdown, which for example prohibited longer trips within the country and closed construction sites. In addition a restricted range of motion applied.

What such a hard lockdown might look like in Germany was recently outlined by SPD health expert Karl Lauterbach. Output restrictions, the obligation to the Homeoffice and to Corona tests in enterprises belong from its viewpoint to it. According to media reports, schools and daycare centers are also likely to close again in the event of a hard lockdown. It would also be possible for the federal government to be given more powers via an amendment to the Infection Protection Act, in order to make pandemic control uniform in the individual federal states.

What is the "bridge lockdown"??

The "bridge lockdown" is an idea of NRW Minister President Armin Laschet. The CDU leader wants to impose a short, hard lockdown in April.

  • The Corona measures are to be tightened until as many people as possible in Germany have been vaccinated
  • On Tuesday, the party leader told ZDF television that it was foreseeable that "in a very short time, 20 percent, then 30, 40 percent of the German population will have been vaccinated". Until then, he said, public life would have to be further scaled back.

'Bridge lockdown' aims to push seven-day incidence below 100, then tests and increased use of Luca app to keep it level. It is unclear so far, however, exactly what measures will accompany the "bridge lockdown" and how long this tougher lockdown will actually last. Prime Minister Laschet spoke of "two or three weeks".

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