Germany adopted a new plan Wednesday for a gradual relaxation of coronavirus restrictions during the next four weeks.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz made the announcement after a videoconference with the premiers of the country’s 16 federal states.

“We can look ahead with more confidence,” Scholz said at a news conference, noting that the measures have been effective in bringing the pandemic under control and the country apparently has passed the peak of the omicron wave.

“We have agreed on the gradual relaxation of most of the coronavirus measures in Germany, in three stages until the start of the spring,” he said.

According to the plan, in the first stage, the current limit of 10 people for social gatherings will be abolished. Those who are vaccinated or recovered from the virus will be allowed to meet without limitation.

In the second stage, beginning March 4, restaurants will serve customers who are vaccinated, recovered or can present a negative test result.

Bars and clubs will reopen but only fully vaccinated or recovered persons will be admitted, with an additional test. Those with a booster vaccination will not need to present a test result.

In the third stage from March 20, “all more far-reaching protective measures are to be dropped if the situation in the hospitals permits this,” it said.

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