March 16, 2020 / 3:16 PM / 22 days ago

Germany to shutter most shops, bars, churches

Empty chairs and tables are seen in front of a restaurant during the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Berlin, Germany, March 16, 2020. REUTERS/Annegret Hilse

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany’s federal and state governments agreed sweeping rules shutting everything from non-essential shops to bars, clubs, theatres, museums, brothels and churches in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus, the federal government said.

In a statement published on Monday, they said grocery shops, markets, banks, pharmacies and delivery services would remain open, while restaurants and other eating establishments would generally be allowed to open between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.

The government said the new guidelines aimed “to further limit social contacts in public spaces in response to the corona epidemic in Germany.” Shops that remained open would have to implement heightened hygiene measures and monitor their entrances in order to avoid long queues building, it added.

Reporting by Thomas Escritt; Editing by Riham Alkousaa

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