Germany Paves Way for Broad Economic Restart

Germany is taking its biggest step yet to ease coronavirus containment with preparations to open restaurants and all shops as well as to restart professional soccer games, according to a recent report from Bloomberg. Although many lockdown measures are being gradually phased out, however, Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Germans to stick to limits on public contact to stem the risk of a second wave of infections.

Regional authorities will be given greater leeway to decide the pace of the moves, according to Bloomberg: “The approach confirms what was happening in practice already as some state leaders jumped the gun with their own plans.” Merkel, who has pushed for a cautious approach, has been under pressure to speed up the country’s exit from the curbs that brought business activity in some sectors to a virtual standstill. Bloomberg reports that “the economy is forecast to shrink by 6.3% in 2020, more than even during the financial crisis a decade ago, according to government projections.”

The chancellor reaffirmed that Germany plans to come up with a plan to revive Europe’s largest economy. Bloomberg quoted her as saying, ““First we will have to see which sectors won’t have a chance for a longer time to come back. It’s not like you can only talk about a restart of the economy if the government gives more money. We will indeed need a stimulus program, but the initiative must come from the companies.”

Germany has won praise for its swift response to the pandemic, according to Bloomberg, and is following countries like Austria and Denmark — similarly successful in containing the virus — in reactivating the economy.” Nations including Italy and Spain that were much harder hit are likely to take longer to return to some semblance of normality,” says the report.