Only families and people sharing a home are exempt from the stringent action, Chancellor Angela Merkel said, according to Bloomberg News.
“No one wants to stand before the people and discuss such rules,” Merkel said at a news conference in Berlin after a video conference with regional leaders, according to the news outlet.
People keep distance as they queue on a small weekly market in Frankfurt, Germany, early Saturday, March 21, 2020. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)
Merkel, who after giving her remarks was placed in quarantine after a doctor she came in contact with tested positive for COVID-19, said the public gathering ban will be in effect for two weeks.
Restaurants will be closed except for takeout and delivery services.
Merkel has feuded with some of the nation’s 16 states over how best to combat the virus, Bloomberg News reported.
In Germany, the disease has infected nearly 24,000 people but claimed the lives of only 92, according to data from John Hopkins University.
The chancellor opposes a rigid lockdown, fearing that such a measure could backfire.
At the same time, she has sought a more coordinated approach to restrictions on public life.