Bavaria Tightens Corona Restrictions, Austria Eases Them

In Munich, First Minister Markus Söder announced tightened anti-Corona measures on Sunday. He also said Bavaria would declare a disaster situation because of its high numbers. Neighboring Austria is moving in the opposite way.

Berlin, December 7th, 2020 (The Berlin Spectator) — For Bavarians, life will likely be more difficult, but also safer, later this week. Once and if the state parliament in Munich approves the strict measures First Minister Markus Söder announced on Sunday, they will be in place within hours. (See separate article ‘Bavaria Tightens Corona Restrictions Further, Declares Disaster Situation‘)

Nightly Curfews

In order to leave their homes, people will need valid reasons. Shopping, going to work or to the doctor qualify. Seeing family members is allowed as well. In Corona hotspots, there will even be curfews at night, from 9:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m.. Söder also wants to tighten the rules at Bavaria’s two international borders to Austria and Czechia.

There is more: An alcohol ban in public will probably be in place by Tuesday at midnight. Like Berlin, Bavaria will not be part of the federal states who intend to ease the contact restrictions for both Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Only Christmas will be different. From December 23rd to 26th, Bavarians will be allowed to gather in groups of up to ten people. Otherwise five is the maximum number, if Mr. Söder gets his way. He usually does.

Slashed in Half

A bit further south, in Austria, a strict three-week lockdown is ending. Retail businesses and hairdressers are allowed to open again. Of course, contact restrictions and mandatory mask rules still apply, but life will likely feel more free to most Austrians. With its lockdown, the country managed to slash its number of new infections per day in half. The same applies to its Seven Day Incidence Number. The latter now stands at 263, which is still very high.

Restaurants and hotels in Austria still have to remain closed, at least until January 7th, 2021. Usually, countless Germans spend skiing vacations in the Austrian Alps. Not this time. Strict quarantine rules basically make it impossible for Germans to ski in Austria this winter. Besides, the country’s skiing resorts will not open until later this month.

Mask Rule Enforced on Trains

Back in Germany, hundreds of police officers and security staffers will be enforcing the mandatory mask rule on trains run by Deutsche Bahn (DB) today. The operation includes long distance trains, regional and local ones. For instance, DB also runs the ‘S-Bahn’ train system in Berlin. Fifty percent of all trains will be checked.

According to DB, the number of mask refuseniks on its trains has decreased a lot. In spite of this aspect, the company intends to tighten its checks again around Christmas. A representative said this was about making passengers feel safer.