Normality is returning in small steps. Restaurant visits are possible again in some regions of Baden-Württemberg. And Europa Park could open on May 21st.
After the long-awaited start of the relaxation of the Corona requirements in several regions, more cities and districts will be ready in the coming days to reduce the restrictions on pubs, hotels and shops. If the virus load does not increase further, restaurateurs, hoteliers and retailers could next open their doors in the Böblingen district and greet guests. Baden-Baden as well as the Ortenau district, the Rhein-Neckar district, the Lake Constance district and the Freudenstadt, Rastatt, Sigmaringen and Reutlingen districts would also have their turn in the course of the week after a long forced break.
Openings in Heidelberg tend to be cautious
As a prerequisite for this step, the corona numbers in a city or a district must be below an incidence of 100 infections per 100,000 inhabitants on five consecutive working days. In these circles less affected by the virus, the country had significantly relaxed the restrictions on gastronomy, tourism and leisure. However, if a circle exceeds 100 on three working days in a row, the opening steps must also be reversed.
Finally shopping, inviting and serving again, this has been the case in some districts and cities of Baden-Württemberg since Saturday. In rainy weather, however, the opening of restaurants and cafés in Heidelberg was rather restrained. Several companies were still closed, others started with reduced outdoor seating. More people than usual during the pandemic strolled through the city, but there was no push.
Mayor Eckart Würzner (independent) said about the start in the university town: “This is a great perspective, but also a huge challenge for the catering and hotel industry and a great responsibility for all of us.”
Because there are also difficulties associated with the opening steps: the restaurateurs have to bring back enough kitchen and service employees in order to be able to open at all. Before Corona, students in Heidelberg had earned extra income with waiters; but many of them have moved home because of the purely digital studies and are not available. Other employees have said goodbye to retail. Ordering goods is not easy either. Guests would therefore have to expect slimmed down menus.
Checking the evidence of rapid test, recovery, or vaccination required to visit restaurants could also be difficult. Only people who were fully vaccinated at least two weeks ago are considered vaccinated. But many people have only received the first dose, only with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine one syringe is enough.
Like Freiburg and the Main-Tauber, Konstanz, Emmendingen and Breisgau-Hochschwarzwald districts, Heidelberg is one of the municipalities or regions with a seven-day incidence of less than 100 for several days. The German Hotel and Restaurant Association has already warned against “district hopping” because of the different incidences. In the Zollernalb district, the value is still 247.0 (as of Saturday).
Demand: rules at Lake Constance should be harmonized
In view of the different opening steps in gastronomy and tourism businesses, innkeepers and hoteliers around Lake Constance are calling for the rules to be harmonized. In the four-country region, the “currently existing and divergent regulations are always particularly challenging,” said the managing director of the International Bodensee Tourismus GmbH, Jürgen Amman, in Constance. The rules should definitely be harmonized. Corresponding demands also came from the Allgäu.
Above all, the link to a seven-day incidence of less than 100 triggers criticism on the German side. While an early opening of tourism and gastronomy seems unlikely in large parts of the Allgäu and the Lake Constance district, day trips to Austria and Switzerland are possible again. With a negative Corona test, holiday returnees from the two countries can also exempt themselves from the quarantine obligation upon entry. Austria plans to open tourism businesses on May 19. Hotels, mountain railways and outdoor restaurants are already open in Switzerland.
Intensive planning is also underway in Germany’s largest amusement park, Europa-Park in Rust: Contrary to expectations, the amusement park may open on Friday (May 21) if the incidence remains low. It is part of a model project by the Ministry of Social Affairs, supported by the University of Freiburg. The Baden-Württemberg corona strategy actually only provides for park openings a few weeks later. Park manager Roland Mack told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ / Saturday) that only 3000 visitors should be allowed in on the first day, then 10,000. 20,000 people would be allowed. According to Mack, the park has so far suffered a loss in sales of more than 300 million euros due to Corona.