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Merkel Cautious As Germany Scales Down Lockdown Protocols.

Some small shops in Germany reopened on Monday as the country took a cautious step toward returning to normal, though Chancellor Angela Merkel issued a stark warning against complacency in the face of the pandemic.

From florists to fashion stores, the majority of shops smaller than 800 square metres (8,600 square feet) were allowed to welcome customers again in much of Germany, in a first wave of scaling back lockdown measures introduced last month.

Merkel and regional state premiers announced the decision to reopen last week — but were careful to cast it as a cautious first step.

The government is facing increasing pressure to ease restrictions, especially from industries eager to get business back on track.

But Merkel said Monday she was “greatly concerned” the public could let its guard down too fast, speaking in a telephone conference with leaders from her centre-right CDU party.

She urged the public to maintain social distancing measures, such as keeping 1.5 metres (five feet) apart and avoiding gatherings of more than two people, voicing her “scepticism” and “huge concern” over the population’s discipline.



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