Federal and state leaders of Germany has agreed to relax its quarantine rules but add more restriction for restaurants and bars in response to an increase in coronavirus cases.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and the premiers of the nation’s 16 states on Friday decided to exempt certain people from quarantining if they come into contact with someone who has caught the virus.

Friday’s meeting was the state premiers’ first of the year. The regional leaders have met regularly throughout the pandemic in a bid to coordinate their response, although there is often a patchwork of rules across the country due to Germany’s federal division of powers.

The meeting came amid fears that Omicron could bring key parts of the German economy and society to a halt.

Several state health authorities have reported that the highly contagious variant is now dominant in their regions.

The German News Agency DPA reported that according to a paper released following the videoconference the length of quarantine will be reduced to 10 days, with the option of getting out from day seven if the person tests negative.

Currently, quarantine lasts up to 14 days depending on a number of factors.

Olaf Scholz and the state leaders also agreed to tighten entry requirements for bars and restaurants. Under the plans, people will need to get tested before dining out, unless they have received their booster shot against the coronavirus.

Entry to bars and restaurants is already restricted, with access limited to those who are vaccinated or recently recovered from the virus. This rule will remain in place.

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