The German business community expressed consternation on Thursday after Chancellor Angela Merkel and regional leaders agreed to extend the coronavirus lockdown until March 7. Under the agreement reached on Wednesday, hair salons will be allowed to reopen from March 1 but the threshold for a gradual re-opening of the rest of the economy has been tightened: an infection rate of no more than 35 new cases per 100,000 people over seven days, down from 50 previously. German retailers are currently losing around 700 million euros ($849.17 million) every day stores stay closed, the HDE sector lobby group said, calling the decision to extend the lockdown “inappropriate and incomprehensible”. If stores are only allowed to open in April, the retail sector will see sales fall 2% in 2021, but if they stay closed until May, the fall will be about 6%, the HDE estimated. “Politicians are leaving industry in the lurch,” said Andrea Belegante from the BdS lobby group that represents the restaurant and catering business, adding she was “stunned”.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 12th, 2021.

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