Germany is known for luxury cars, machine tools and other goods that have protected the overall economy from the worst effects of the pandemic. But Germany is also a nation of shopkeepers, small operations whose employees are often from the same family.

These businesses have been pushed to the brink of existence by lockdowns, quarantines and other restrictions that often change from day to day. Vaccines are in short supply and intensive care units are filling up, prompting Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government to impose a nationwide curfew last month in areas with high infection rates.

In the port city of Hamburg, retailers are improvising to try to survive.

Théodora Vezo, the owner of a boutique that bears her name, took customers by appointment and changed her window displays of clothing and accessories much more often.

German Retail Association said they feared bankruptcy.

More than two-thirds of Ms. Bouquet’s hat sales used to come from theater productions, which are at a standstill. “That was the last straw,” Ms. Bouquet said. Her revenue fell by about half last year. While she will continue to make hats to order for theater customers in her atelier, she said, she closed the storefront permanently in February.

Paula Haase contributed reporting.

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