Germany delays relaxing COVID-19 restrictions

Germany has postponed easing its COVID-19 restrictions, originally scheduled to be relaxed today, as infection rates spike across Europe. Chancellor

Berlin Lockdown

Photo: CNN

Germany has postponed easing its COVID-19 restrictions, originally scheduled to be relaxed today, as infection rates spike across Europe.

Chancellor Angela Merkel has urged parliament to pass a bill allowing the federal government to impose state-level COVID-19 restrictions, though opposition to it has been widespread and will likely prevent the bill’s passage. Whether or not the bill is passed, expect anti-restriction protests to increase nationwide. Protests broke out in late March after Merkel warned that restrictions may be extended, so the official application of this rule will likely reignite demonstrations.

The extension of restrictions also poses a challenge to Berlin’s 1.5 million renters. Germany’s Federal Constitutional Court revoked a law that froze rent increases on apartments for five years. The move sparked widespread protests by renters concerned they will no longer be able to afford the cost of living in the city, especially as low-wage employment is hindered by further restrictions.

While the ruling was lauded by Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party, Germany’s left-wing parties came out strongly against the decision. Expect their opposition to net widespread support in Berlin during the September federal election, potentially overtaking the CDU in the capital.

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