Germany’s Business Sector to Continue Suffering as the Government Extends Shutdown Until April 20
- Number of infections rose by nearly 6,300 in the last 24 hours, with 55 new deaths reported
- Certain companies say they will skip paying rent as their shops are closed
- Volkswagen halts production in all German plants until April 09
Germany has extended the shutdown to April 20, Merkel’s chief of staff Helge Braun told local newspapers. The latest numbers from Germany show an increase of nearly 6,300 infections in the last 24 hours, in addition to 55 deaths.
“We are not talking about any easing before April 20,” said Braun.
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The shutdown, aimed at limiting the spread of the virus means that schools, shops, restaurants, playgrounds and sports facilities are all closed.
“In Germany, I currently have the impression that the population follows the rules in an exemplary manner. And that is why I am convinced that we will see their success in a few days”, Braun said.
In a weekly podcast, Chancellor Merkel thanked residents for complying with rules to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
“When I see today how almost everyone has completely changed their behavior, how the vast majority of you really do avoid any unnecessary contact, precisely because it can also contain a risk of infection, then I would simply like to say: thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart,” Merkel said.
The German government has earlier agreed on a stimulus package worth more than 750 billion euros to support the economic activity across the country. Around 100 billion euros will be used for potential nationalizing troubled companies.
Still, companies are struggling to come to terms with the new reality. Sports good retailer Adidas (ETR:ADS), electronics retail chain Media-Saturn (ETR:CECG) and shoe retailer Deichman said they will skip paying rent as their shops are closed.
These actions were called “obscene and unacceptable”, by Germany’s Minister of Justice, Christine Lambrecht.
On the other hand, the world’s largest car producer by sales, Volkswagen (ETR:VOW) has extended production halt until April 09 in all of its 28 plants in Germany.
“The health of our employees has the highest priority. We will ensure that they can return to safe workplaces when production and logistics activities are resumed,” VW brand’s production chief, Andreas Tostmann, said.
He also added that almost all of the company’s production facilities in China have resumed production.