Germany is to reopen all shops as lockdown restrictions are eased.
Meanwhile, Bundesliga soccer has been given the green light to resume and schools will gradually reopen in the summer term.
Chancellor Angela Merkel has said Germany’s goal of slowing the spread of coronavirus has been achieved.
Germany’s 16 federal states, under an agreement with the government, will take control of timing the reopening.
They will operate an “emergency brake” if there is a new surge in infections.
General contact rules involving will continue for another month. A limited resumption has already begun, but this easing of restrictions is far broader.
Two households will be able to meet and eat together, and elderly people in nursing homes and facilities for the disabled will be able to have visits from one specific person.
Chancellor Merkel said: “I think we can safely state that the very first phase of the pandemic is behind us. But we need to be very much aware we are still in the early phases and we’ll be in it for the long haul.”
Germany has seen fewer than 7,000 deaths in the coronavirus pandemic – a much lower figure than in other Western European countries including the UK, Italy, France and Spain.
On May 6, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), a federal public health body, reported 165 deaths in the past 24 hours and some 947 new infections.
The rate of infection has been consistently low for some time, and Angela Merkel said she was very pleased that the number of new, daily infections was into three digits. She praised the responsibility of German citizens in sticking to lockdown measures to protect the lives of others as well as themselves.
Shops of up to 800 square meters (8,600ft) in size have already been allowed to open. All restrictions on shops will now be lifted, although masks must be worn and social distancing maintained.
Schools have already begun opening for older children; all pupils will be allowed to return to class gradually during the summer term.
Germany, in common with other countries, is wary of a second surge in infections. If new infections rise to above 50 people in every 100,000 in a district over a seven-day period, then it will be up to the local authority in the affected area to re-impose restrictions.
A number of the 16 lands have been less affected by the crisis, so some are more eager to ease restrictions than others.
Bavaria in the south plans to reopen restaurants on May 18 while Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania in the north plans to do that on May 9.
Reopening restaurants and hotels is seen as a particular risk because it will heighten the number of people travelling across Germany and raising infection rates. Large public events will remain banned.
The German soccer league, the Bundesliga, has been given the green light to kick off for the first time since March.
So-called ghost games without spectators could start again as early as May 15 or 21 as long as a two-week quarantine is put in place for the players, in the form of a type of training camp. A decision on the date will be made by the football authorities on May 7.
The Bundesliga will be the first major football league in Europe to resume after the pandemic. However, it is not without risk. Ten positive cases were revealed this week by the German football league out of 1,724 tests across the top two divisions.
Meanwhile, tourism commissioner Thomas Bareiss has held out the hope that Germans will be able to go on holiday this summer.
If the outbreak remained under control, he suggested they could go away in Germany and in neighboring countries that had seen a similar drop in infections.