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Germany: Some Federal States Announce Cautious Reopening Steps

In Germany, the Incidences in 117 out of 412 counties are now below 100. The lower the infection numbers, the more demands for reopening steps are being voiced. Several federal states now intend to ease some Corona rules.

Berlin, May 5th, 2021 (The Berlin Spectator) — The Governing Mayor of Berlin, Michael Müller has been cautious most of the time since the Corona crisis hit Germany in early 2020, meaning he is not one of those who would want to reopen restaurants or cinemas in dangerous situations. But, like many of his colleagues all over Germany, he feels the pressure too. Since November, all restaurants in the German capital have been closed. All they are allowed to do is to offer takeout food.

Big Steps in Bavaria

On Tuesday, Müller said the outdoor parts of restaurants might be allowed to open soon, if the infections numbers keep on dropping. This reopening step might be taken for the Christian Pentecost holiday on May 23rd and 24th, 2021. The Mayor also said he would arrange the terms of any reopening with neighboring Brandenburg province. In Potsdam, Brandenburg’s capital, the state’s government had already announced its intention to reopen outdoor restaurant tables towards the end of the month. Berlin and Brandenburg have to cooperate. If they had different rules for restaurants, thousands of residents from one of those federal states would just cross the state border and create a mess.

Further south, in Bavaria, First Minister Markus Söder just announced, vaccinated persons and former Corona patients who were cured within the past six months would not have to adhere to the nightly curfews anymore, starting on Thursday. On Monday, May 10th, 2021, restaurants in counties with Incidences below 100 may open their outdoor tables to guests who have negative Corona tests from the same day, as well as vaccinated and cured individuals. But those restaurants have to close at 10:00 p.m.. Cultural venues and hotels may reopen in those counties as well.

Vague Announcement in Hamburg

Up north, in Hamburg, the Senate was more vague. There was a chance for reopening steps if the numbers continued to drop, the 1.8 million residents were told. Mecklenburg-Hither Pomerania is opening up again, in the sense that day trips to this federal state are allowed again. Residents from other states who own holiday apartments at the Baltic Sea beaches or elsewhere in the state with the abbreviation “MV” may go there as wall, a few weeks after they were kicked out when the numbers increased.

All relevant Corona numbers for Germany, and daily Corona updates, can be found in our Corona chronology.

Lower Saxony is getting ready to reopen all retail businesses and the outdoor parts of its restaurants in counties with low Incidences. First Minister Weil even said cultural events could be organized outdoors. Schleswig-Holstein is the state with the lowest Incidence number. It already opened up the outdoor parts of restaurants and cafés. Baden-Württemberg is ready to open beer gardens and hotels in counties with low infection numbers for Pentecost.

Some Fear Yo-Yo Effect

Germany’s federal states have to adhere to the new ’emergency brake law’, but once the Incidence in a county drops below 100, they can decide about their policies themselves. Some states, including North Rhine-Westphalia, have not announced any reopening, so far. They fear the yo-yo effect, meaning they do not want to close and reopen businesses every five minutes, whenever the numbers change a little.

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