Local news translated – Monday, April 5

Host Nation Update, Apr 5, 2022

COVID rules in Baden-Württemberg – End of mandatory mask wearing
To take off the mask or to keep it on? That was the question that many citizens asked themselves on Monday morning when entering the stores in downtown Stuttgart. After all, on Sunday, as a result of an amendment to the Infection Protection Act by the federal government, the nationwide mask requirement was lifted for many indoor public places, including restaurants, supermarkets as well as other retail stores.

This means that customers are once again allowed to shop or dine without a mask, effective immediately. Although, in view of the current infection situation, the Baden-Württemberg state government recommends continuing to wear a mask as before.

At least at the beginning of the week, the majority of citizens in Stuttgart complied with the state’s call. The abolition of the mask obligation had caused no change in elderly people’s behavior, however, also many young people continued  wearing masks when entering stores.   It is also possible that many citizens wore a mask because many stores still had the old posters with the request to wear a mask. A couple of people were confused and went shopping wearing a mouth-nose protection “because I was unsure whether it was allowed or not,” some said. However, in the future, they definitely want to go shopping without wearing a mask.  (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, April 5)

Visits to local Admin Offices and City halls
Are visits to local administrative offices authorized without masks?

At least the answer was clear: Currently, visits to the authorities are basically possible without a mask. In response to a question from Baden-Württemberg’s Association of Cities, the state government has confirmed that there are no grounds for local authorities to impose a general mask requirement in their institutions. Because the right of citizens to services of general interest is to be valued so highly, even the domestic law does not offer city and municipal administrations the possibility of prescribing the mask on this byway, although mayors and lord mayors certainly have a margin of discretion in this regard. No one has to, but everyone can of course wear a mask if they have business to do in the town hall.   “Mask obligations exist only in exceptional cases, otherwise personal responsibility and voluntariness have taken their place,” emphasizes Norbert Brugger, the responsible department head at the Association of Cities. “That’s all the legal situation allows.”  (Stuttgarter Nachrichten April 5, 2022)

NON-COVID related news:

Cannstatter Wasen in Stuttgart – How the spring festival will be celebrated
It is a step back to normality. After a two-year delay, the 82nd Frühlingsfest will be celebrated for three weeks starting on Holy Saturday (April 16). Without fences, without access restrictions, visitors do not have to be vaccinated, recovered or tested.

What will be different?  “The Stuttgart Spring Festival is finally celebrating its comeback after two corona-related cancellations. This is immensely important, especially for the showmen,” A comeback, but not quite in the usual form.  There will be no beer tents, because construction and preparations take months and cost hundreds of thousands of euros, and last winter it was not yet foreseeable which rules would apply, what was permitted and prohibited, the three festival hosts had decided not to put up their tents.

The opening hours of the Stuttgart Spring Festival will also be different from those of previous ones. Stores and booths will not open until 2 p.m. during the week, and the festival will be closed on Mondays and Tuesdays outside the Easter vacations (which would be April 25, 26 and May 2, 3). Additionally, there will be no big opening ceremony, bands will not perform, party music will not be played, and there will be no musical fireworks at the end.

The fact that there will not be any beer tents, and without parties, fewer people will come: “There is definitely an audience that will stay away.”  After all, to the consolation for all party friends: One plans with a normal folk festival with all the trimmings. But, even if there are no more COVID restrictions, the consequences of the pandemic are having an effect. A number of showmen have given up, many operators had to sell their rides like Stefan Kinzler his roller coaster Wilde Maus, or retired early. Those who have stayed on are now struggling to finance operations while servicing the loans they had to take out to get their businesses through a period without revenue.

The 82nd Spring Festival at the Cannstatter Wasen will be celebrated from April 16 to May 8. 230 businesses will set up their booths and carousels. It is open from Monday to Friday from 2 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays from 12 p.m. onwards. Sunday to Thursday it ends at 11 pm. Fridays, Saturdays and before holidays at 11 pm. The fairground will be closed on Monday and Tuesday, April 25 and 26, and Monday and Tuesday, May 2 and 3.

The corona ordinance has expired. In this respect, there is no longer any hand for restrictions. And also no mask obligation. Andreas Kroll of in.Stuttgart says: “Those who want to protect themselves and their fellow human beings can decide for themselves whether to wear a mask.”  (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, April 5)