On the last two days of shopping before Christmas, the cash register rang again at many retailers in Germany.
Shortly before the lockdown, many consumers were drawn to the city centers to shop again.
Whether at Alexanderplatz in Berlin or on Bahnhofstrasse in Bielefeld: In many cities, queues formed in front of the shops on Monday and Tuesday, and the pedestrian zones were well filled.
It has been clear since Sunday that many shops will have to close from Wednesday to contain the corona pandemic.
Only grocery stores, drugstores and pharmacies are allowed to continue opening in lockdown.
As a result, many people only had Mondays and Tuesdays to buy gifts in stationary stores.
Numerous passers-by with masks crowd through a shopping street in the city center in Munich
Source: dpa / Matthias Balk
Long queues formed in front of some shops, like here in Munich
Source: dpa / Matthias Balk
"As expected, there is a lot going on - significantly more than usual," said the managing director of the Bavarian Trade Association, Bernd Ohlmann, on Tuesday.
“Many people buy Christmas presents at the last minute.” Vouchers are often chosen because customers don't have much time to choose.
Despite the rush, there are only a few violations of the corona requirements, said a police spokesman in Hanover.
“People are much more sensitive to the topic.” In Berlin, too, people in the queues usually kept enough distance from one another.
A tightly packed crowd and a police patrol car move across the Westenhellweg shopping street in Dortmund
Source: dpa / Bernd Thissen
On the last day before the hard lockdown, many buyers in Cologne wanted to get Christmas presents
Source: dpa / Henning Kaiser
In Hamburg, too, many people were waiting in front of the shops
Despite the large crowds, the people in this queue in front of a shop in Hamburg kept their distance from one another
There were numerous passers-by in Stralsund, it is compulsory to wear a mask
Source: dpa / Stefan Sauer
For some stationary retailers, however, the return of customers to the city centers may come too late.
Despite long queues in front of individual shops, retailers no longer have any hope of being able to save the Christmas business.
“The otherwise strong sales phase at the end of the year will be a fiasco for many retailers,” said the managing director of the German Retail Association (HDE), Stefan Genth, in Berlin.
NRW Prime Minister Armin Laschet (CDU) called on people to buy vouchers instead of ordering Christmas gifts on the Internet.
"We also have a duty to show solidarity with those who close their doors to contain the pandemic and have to accept enormous losses in income," he said in a special session of the state parliament in Düsseldorf.