Earlier this week, Chancellor Angela Merkel began talks with the mayors of Germany’s 11 largest cities and agreed to toughen restrictions if the number of COVID-19 cases exceeds 50.
Other cities that have passed the key coronavirus threshold include Berlin, Cologne, Frankfurt and Stuttgart.
Merkel Chief of Staff Helge Braun said public broadcaster ARD that Germany must “ba little stricter in the places where the chains of infection are most often spread, namely the holidays and, unfortunately, travel. ”
“We are at the start of a second wave and only the determination of politicians and the population will decide whether or not we can avoid it or slow it down,” he added.
Read more: Coronavirus: Berlin’s first curfew in 70 years takes effect
Under the new measures, the number of people allowed to gather for private celebrations and gatherings in Essen has been reduced from 50 to 25.
Masks must now also be worn in all public buildings.
Unlike Berlin and Cologne, Essen has not yet instituted a nighttime curfew.
Known as the energy capital of Germany, the city of 600,000 is also home to a number of major German companies, including utilities E.ON and RWE.
The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) on Sunday recorded 3,483 new cases of coronavirus and 11 deaths linked to the virus, for a total of 322,864 cases and 9,615 deaths since the start of the pandemic.
mvb / rc (dpa, Reuters)