Daily Host Nation Stories July 1, 2020
Webasto CEO Engelmann criticizes meat producer Tönnies
The chairman of the board of the Bavarian automotive supplier Webasto, Holger Engelmann, reacts with sharp criticism and lack of understanding to the mass corona eruption in the East Westphalian large slaughterhouse Tönnies. “I personally find the explosive spread of the virus in the Gütersloh district frightening,” he told the Süddeutsche Zeitung. They have known “for months now what measures we can take to protect others. Not to take them to heart is negligent and fuels the rapid spread of Covid-19.” Webasto, a manufacturer of car roofs, heaters and batteries as well as charging stations for electric cars, hit the headlines at the beginning of the year after an employee at the headquarters in Stockdorf near Munich was infected with the corona virus by a Chinese colleague. The corona cases at Webasto in January and February are considered the first in Germany. (Sueddeutsche Zeitung, June 30)
Starnberg district fights against outbreak at Caterer
After the corona outbreak at a catering company in Gilching, Upper Bavaria, the seven-day incidence in the Starnberg district almost doubled within 24 hours. However, the numbers are still well below the upper limit of 50 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants within seven days agreed between the federal and state governments. A series of tests at the caterer’s facility revealed 45 cases by last night. Despite the new hotspot, District Administrator Stefan Frey initially ruled out a lockdown in the region. “We are currently far from that,” he said, pointing out that a lockdown would require a non-specific outbreak. (Ntv, July 1)
IFO expects strong recovery
According to the Ifo Institute for Economic Research, the German economy is on the verge of a significant recovery. After an expected record drop in gross domestic product (GDP) between April and June of 11.9 percent compared to the previous quarter, it is likely to rise by 6.9 percent in the third quarter and by 3.8 percent at the end of 2020, the Munich-based researchers and government advisors explained. “From now on, things will gradually pick up again,” said Ifo Economic Director Timo Wollmershäuser. For the year as a whole, the economy is likely to slump by 6.7 percent – and thus more severely than ever before in the post-war period. According to Ifo, GDP is expected to grow again by 6.4 percent in 2021, “so that the economic output of the end of 2019 will be reached again at the end of 2021.” (Ntv, July 1)
Germany is open to eleven more countries
According to a decision by the Federal Government, citizens from eleven additional countries will be able to enter Germany more easily in future. According to a statement by the Federal Ministry of the Interior, entry will be possible as of midnight for people from Australia, Georgia, Canada, Montenegro, New Zealand, Thailand and Uruguay. Travelers from China, Japan and South Korea will also receive the green light in principle. However, according to the notification, they will only be added to the list if they themselves allow German citizens into the country according to the same rules. For the time being there is no release for the USA, Turkey, Russia and Brazil. (Ntv, July 1)
New government policies as of July 1
The corona-related VAT reduction and the annual pension increase are undoubtedly the outstanding new regulations that will come into force on July 1. But also nursing staff, cyclists and holiday travelers should benefit from the changes at the turn of the month. An overview of the changes:
Value added tax: In order to lure consumers back into the shops after the Corona lockdown, the value-added tax will be reduced from 19 to 16 percent for exactly six months on July 1. The reduced tax rate, which is levied on many food items and goods for daily use, will drop from 7 to 5 percent by the end of the year.
Truck driving ban: In order to relieve the roads during the peak travel season, the Sunday truck driving ban will be extended as usual from July 1 to August 31. Trucks weighing more than 7.5 tonnes and trucks with trailers will no longer be allowed to drive on most German motorways during the summer holidays, including Saturdays between 7.00 and 20.00 hrs. However, exceptions are made for the transport of fresh food.
Traffic: So-called long trucks with a total length of up to 25 meters will have to have an electronic turn signal assistant in the future. This is intended to warn drivers acoustically of an impending collision with a cyclist when turning. From July 1, it will be mandatory to install this turn signal assistants and flashing side marker lights. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, July 1)
Thirteen of suspected rioters are in prison
Stuttgart – One and a half weeks after the riots in downtown Stuttgart, 13 suspected rioters are now in jail. This was announced by Interior Minister Thomas Strobl (CDU) on Tuesday afternoon.
Police have identified five other suspects aged between 17 and 19 years who are said to have been involved in the riot. This brings the number of suspects to 37. The investigation team now counts up to 117 police officers. During intensified police checks in the city center last weekend, the officers issued 84 expulsions and initiated 16 criminal and five misdemeanor proceedings. Strobl is now considering equipping more police officers in the country with truncheons: “Intensive and comprehensive investigations are currently ongoing, to determine to what extent an expansion of the multi-purpose baton, which is already in use by the evidence and arrest units of the police headquarters, could be a useful addition to the resources already available.(Stuttgarter Nachrichten, July 1)
Warning letter to Schoenbuch elementary school
On June 30 Christina Seeger, the principal of the Schoenbuch elementary school in Stuttgart Duerrlewang was informed from the Pfaffenwald school principal in a letter, about the following event at the Pfaffenwald School:
Yesterday, in the Dachswald area, a student of the Pfaffenwald School was approached from by a stranger driving a car whom asked the child if he would like a ride. The child replied with a no, and when another car arrived, the person asking the question also drove on.
The letter went onto say,
I would like to use the advice of the mother of the child concerned to point out to you once again that you always sensitize your child to this issue: Do not get involved in any conversation with strangers and certainly not get into the car or go with strangers. We will also discuss this topic with the students of our school.
The child was able to memorize the license plate number, so that the police have already contacted the owner of the car. (Warning notification Schoenbuchschule, June 30)
Stuttgart’s Hotel zur Weinsteige – Best wine selection in Germany
The Hotel zur Weinsteige is known for good wine and good food, now they have it in writing that they are not only good, but top: The German Wine Institute gave the award for the best wine selection in a hotel restaurant throughout Germany.
The setbacks in times of Corona affect all restaurateurs, hotel owners maybe a little bit more. Andreas Scherle is both, so he is all the more pleased about a small ray of hope: His restaurant Zur Weinsteige (Hohenheimer Straße 28) has been awarded by the German Wine Institute for the best wine selection of hotel restaurant in the whole of Germany.
Economically, of course, the situation is a disaster. Gastronomically, things are back to normal, but the hotel business is a disaster. The hotel guests are gone. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, July 1)