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Merkel U-turns on Easter lockdown amid criticism

Published: (Updated: ) in European News by .

The chancellor said she takes responsibility for the ‘mistake’ of having suggested a hard lockdown over the holiday.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday reversed her decision to impose a hard lockdown over Easter weekend.

Calling the move to close shops, including grocery stores, on the Thursday before Easter a “mistake,” Merkel said she would take “full responsibility” for the aborted plan, German tabloid Bild reported.

The chancellor made the remarks at an emergency videoconference with Germany’s 16 state premiers, scheduled on short notice Wednesday morning before Merkel was due to answer lawmakers’ questions at the Bundestag, the German parliament.

Merkel’s U-turn came just over a day after the decision was announced during a press conference in the early hours of Tuesday, following intense debates with state premiers. Many of the regional leaders had voiced loud criticism over what they said were inconsistent policies, citing as one example a ban on holidays within Germany while travel to places like Majorca remained possible.

On Tuesday, dismay at the Easter lockdown grew among both opposition parties and governing parties alike, with newspaper headlines almost unanimously condemning the precautions as counterproductive and confusing.

In particular, the plan to shut everything down the day before Good Friday caused widespread confusion, leaving it uncertain whether that day would be considered a holiday — a change that would have ramifications for industrial law.

Another concern was that people would head to grocery stores in large numbers on Holy Saturday, potentially leading to the opposite of the desired drop in new coronavirus infections.

With Germans increasingly frustrated amid a slow coronavirus vaccine rollout and the recently uncovered corruption scandal surrounding Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) and its sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), this week’s lockdown flip-flop only added to the government’s woes.

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On Wednesday, a new poll showed the CDU/CSU would receive just 26 percent of the vote if Germans went to the polls on Sunday, the conservatives’ lowest result in a year.

Source: POLITICO https://www.politico.eu/article/angela-merkel-u-turn-easter-coronavirus-lockdown-fierce-criticism/?utm_source=RSS_Feed&utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=RSS_Syndication

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