Germany To Impose New One-Month (Partial) Lockdown From Monday November 2, 2020

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Coming Monday, November 2nd 2020 there will be another lockdown in Germany that’s in effect countrywide and will impact many parts of public life including the ability to stay at hotels.

Germany has seen a surge of Covid-19 cases in the last few weeks and the government on a federal and provincial level has started to float the possibility of another lockdown since then.

Contrary to the first lockdown in late spring when the situation was relatively new and people had a big more respect for the unknown there is now mounting dissatisfaction about the decisions made by the government, both from opposition parties as well as an increasingly vocal public.

DW reported (in English) about the measures people will face in the coming month and it doesn’t look great.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Germany’s state premiers announced on Wednesday a new partial lockdown to begin on Monday, November 2.

The so-called nationwide “lockdown light” is a less intense version of the measures that brought German society and economic activity to a standstill in the spring. …

New restrictions for the next month

  • Restaurants and bars will close, except for take-away
  • Large events will be canceled again
  • Unnecessary travel is strongly discouraged 
  • Overnight stays in hotels for tourist purposes is banned 
  • All those who can work from home should do so and employers should ease a transition into working from home
  • Meetings in public will be restricted to just two households of up to 10 people total.
  • Entertainment facilities such as theaters and cinemas will be closed
  • Public recreation centers such as swimming pools, gyms and saunas will be closed
  • No crowds at sports events

What is allowed

  • Schools and kindergartens will remain open
  • Church services and protests will be allowed to continue due to constitutional concerns
  • Nursing home residents will be allowed to receive visitors
  • Shops will remain open, with one customer allowed per 10 square meters (108 square feet)
  • Borders remain open

This will obviously have severe consequences for public life and also impact foreign tourists currently in Germany as the borders have been (and remain) open for several countries including to – until recently – Canada (now excluded) but also Japan and South Korea. I personally know several people from these countries who went to Europe for vacation and will face this situation now.

… Merkel said in a press conference: “We are in a very serious situation.”

“We must act, and now, to avoid an acute national health emergency.”

She said the number of people in intensive care units has doubled in the past 10 days, and that in many areas it was no longer possible to track and trace infection chains. In 75% of cases, the source of infection is unknown. …

State and federal leaders will meet again in two weeks to assess if the new measures are having enough of an effect, and recalibrate if needed.

Until now, Merkel’s government has enjoyed high levels of support for the measures put in place to tackle the pandemic and Germany has fared relatively well compared to many of its European neighbors.

But public mood has been shifting and criticism among the population of government-ordained measures is on the rise. …

Several news outlets also reported that financing the new measures would push the amount of debt Germany was in for 2021 well over €100 billion ($117 billion). Finance Minister Olaf Scholz had planned a sum of €96 billion to help businesses ride out the pandemic next year, but the new aid package could cost €10 billion more.

The opposition pro-business liberal Free Democrats have spoken out against another shutdown of the hospitality sector. “I believe it is unnecessary and unconstitutional,” party leader Christian Lindner wrote on Twitter before Wednesday’s meeting.

This set of renewed lockdown measures will be an economic disaster for the SME business community, especially restaurateurs who had high investments since the summer to make their establishments safe and comply with health regulations.

It’s unclear and there haven’t been any public instructions on the website of Germany’s central tourism agency. Although there are specific information links sorted by region, none of them deal with this new announcement by the federal government especially concerning hotels.

I’m expecting lawsuits in federal court to clarify and eventually overturn some of the restrictions but that won’t help in the immediate time frame of the coming week or so.

I had originally planned to go back to Germany and visit family for a few months but given these developments I’m really happy I stayed in Asia where life is pretty much normal.

Conclusion

These new regulations imposed by the government will have severe impact on the local population and especially tourism for the entire month of November and probably beyond. If you have a trip planned to Germany it’s probably a good idea thinking about postponing it as it won’t be easy to find accommodation, have a meal in a pleasant environment or even get around the country by methods of public transport such as train.

In case foreign visitors are already in Germany and plan to change hotels in the next week and beyond I suggest to contact the property and ask about the impact of these new regulations on their ability to accept new guests. Some hotels might even close down as they did last time around.

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