Germany begins hard lockdown against coronavirus until at least January 10, as COVID-19 spreads

In Germany, most stores must close starting Wednesday until at least January 10, as the country tightens restrictions to fight coronavirus spread, said Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday.

And sorry, German revelers. New Year's Eve fireworks sales? Also banned.

From Reuters:

"I would have wished for lighter measures. But due to Christmas shopping the number of social contacts has risen considerably," Merkel told journalists following a meeting with leaders of the country's 16 federal states.

"There is an urgent need to take action," she said.

Only essential shops such as supermarkets and pharmacies, as well as banks, are to remain open from Dec. 16. Hair salons, beauty salons and tattoo parlours will also have to shut.

The government will support affected companies with a total of around 11 billion euros ($13.3 billion) a month. Businesses that are forced to close may receive up to 90% of fixed costs, or up 500,000 euros a month, Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said.