Germany is going to lift the coronavirus or COVID-19 restrictions from the coming week for seasonal workers from the European Union and Schengen nations introduced to slow the spread of the deadly novel virus, Agriculture Minister Julia Kloeckner stated on Wednesday.
With the number of new virus cases in Germany falling and its restrictions easing, the move is designed to give the agricultural sector the ability to chalk out a plan as farmers are getting ready for this year's harvest.
Germany to Lift COVID-19 Restrictions for Seasonal Workers
Last year, almost 300,000 seasonal workers were employed in Germany's sector, mainly from Romania and Poland. However, with the onset of the pandemic, Germany introduced restrictions and allowed a maximum of 80,000 seasonal workers to enter the country, although just under half that number came. Kloeckner said demand for regional produce had increased.
"But sowing and harvesting food don't happen of its own accord," she said. "Farmers need professional seasonal help, otherwise we will have to increase our food imports."
Under the new plans, approved by Chancellor Angela's cabinet, employers will have to implement strict hygiene standards. Fixed teams will be set up from the start to reduce the risk of the virus spreading and if one worker becomes ill, the whole team must be isolated. The new rules will apply until December 31.
(With agency inputs)