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Letter from... Berlin

08 April 2020

By Geert Harzmann, Senior Consultant, Kohl PR & Partner

The situation in Germany after approximately two weeks of shutdown is currently quite tense. Whilst the rise of new COVID-19 infection cases are fortunately, slowly decreasing, how long the severe restrictions must be maintained in order to contain the virus remains to be confirmed.

Attention is currently very much focused on the economic impact. Although the Federal Government is providing comprehensive relief measures, the situation for small businesses, private owned shops, restaurants, bars, hairdressers etc. is getting more and more critical. Also, large companies and key industries in Germany such as the automotive industry face enormous financial threats.

A walk through the grocery stores currently offers a very strange picture. While almost all goods are available, toilet paper is regularly sold out. Thus, much like other countires, toilet paper has become a kind of symbol of the Corona crisis.

Amongst the stress and pressure caused by the virus there is a great willingness to help each other. So now, as the harvest season starts in Germany and with foreign harvesters limited on availability due to border closures, many people especially students, have volunteered to limit the losses of the local farmers and get their hands dirty. Something we have not seen in decades.