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German-Polish Border Reopens After Three Months

The reopening the border between Germany and Poland was celebrated early on Saturday morning. Even tourists may now enter Poland again. But, if they are not careful, their visit could turn out to be very expensive.

“During this time of closed borders, we have seen how important open European borders are, and how closely Germany and Poland are connected.” This is what Brandenburg’s First Minister Dietmar Woidke said just before the reopening.

Celebrations on Bridges

The German-Polish border is 469 kilometers long. People on site celebrated the reopening at crossing points located on bridges along the Oder and Neisse rivers. In the Lusatia region, the Mayor of the town of Guben had a glass of champagne with residents from both states on the Neisse Bridge, as the ‘LR Online’ publication reported.

The border had been closed when the spread of the Coronavirus in alarming numbers worried Europe a lot more than it does today. Apart from truck drivers and diplomats, everyone who crossed into Poland needed to go into quarantine for two weeks. This created big problems for commuters. At some point, they were exempt from the rule.

Polish Beauty Parlors

The closing of the border for three months separated families, friends and business partners. German towns and neighboring Polish ones on the other side of the border cooperate in many ways, and they are close. For instance, this applies to Frankfurt (the small one at the Oder river) and Slubice, or Görlitz and Zgorzelec. Now they can continue where they left off in mid-March.

Germans who live along the border cross into Poland a lot, also in order to purchase products that a cheaper, including medication and cigarettes. They also use Polish gas stations. Hairdressers and services in beauty parlors are comparatively inexpensive in Poland.

Brutal Fines

But tourists and other persons who enter Poland should be careful. The far-right government in Warsaw put in place strict Corona rules that include hefty fines for those who disobey them. Masks need to be worn in shops, public transport and churches. Children aged 0 to 3 are exempt. The distance people have to keep to each other in Poland is 2 meters (6.6 feet).

At restaurants, pubs and cafés in Poland, guests need to wear masks until they sit at the table. At banks, gas stations and all shops, customers have to wear gloves or disinfect their hands beforehand. The fines are brutal. Those who disobey any Polish Corona rule, and get caught, will have to pay 5,000 to 30,000 Zloty (1,250 to 6,750 Euro, 1,407 to 7,597 U.S. Dollars or 1122 to 6,065 Pounds Sterling).

The borders to most other European and Schengen countries are scheduled to open on Monday.

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