Daily Host Nation Stories – August 11, 2020
Country-by-Country requirements for entry/exit from Germany
In many places, the number of corona infections is rising again and countries are arming up with new rules. What do you have to consider when you are on holiday in Europe? Here’s an overview:
Austria: The corona situation in Austria has stabilized. Entry from Germany is possible without conditions.
Belgium: Tourists from Germany can enter without any problems. At Brussels airport, however, thermal cameras are used to measure the temperature of all passengers. If the temperature exceeds 38 degrees, entry could be refused. Because of increasing corona cases – recently the average was more than 500 per day – the restrictions have been tightened again. Masks are now mandatory in public places with large audiences, as well as in buses and trains, museums and shops. Guests in pubs and restaurants must leave contact details. Shopping there is now only allowed on your own and for a maximum of 30 minutes. However, due to a significant increase in Corona numbers, the Federal Foreign Office warns against tourist travel to the Antwerp region. In addition, there is a particularly strict obligation to wear masks, a night-time curfew and a ban on selling alcohol at night. On the North Sea coast, holidaymakers and locals sometimes have to register in advance for beach visits.
Croatia: Since July 10, Croatia allows Germans and citizens of other EU countries to enter the country without having to prove certain reasons. At the border, travelers only have to explain where they will be and how to reach them. This should enable them to be detected if there are new corona infections in their area. An appropriate form can be downloaded from the Internet before the start of the journey. On the beaches, distance rules apply, overcrowding should be prevented. In shops and public transport, masks are again mandatory since July 13.
France: Tourists from Germany do not need any special documents to enter France. A quarantine is also not necessary. As the number of new infections has risen slightly recently, several tourist resorts in Brittany and municipalities in the Département Mayenne as well as in districts of Lille and Nice have sometimes ordered the wearing of a corona protective mask in busy places, even outdoors. In public transport and public enclosed spaces such as shops and market halls, masks are mandatory throughout the country. Tickets for many sights, such as the Eiffel Tower or the Louvre in Paris, are limited to allow visitors to keep their distance. In most cases, tickets must be reserved or purchased online in advance. Many restaurants have expanded their terraces to accommodate more guests outside.
Great Britain: Travelers from Germany and about 80 other countries and territories can now enter without restrictions. These include Austria, Switzerland and Italy. However, a form must be filled out with contact details and information about previous destinations. Travelers from other countries, such as the USA, are still subject to a two-week quarantine. It is worth taking a look at the Internet shortly before departure, as the list of countries exempted from the quarantine obligation can change constantly, as the example of Spain or Belgium shows. The quarantine obligation was recently reintroduced for both. The media speculated that France could be next. Each British part of the country decides on its own measures to combat the pandemic. For example, there are also different regulations on the obligation to wear masks. In several areas, such as the Leicester, Manchester and Aberdeen area, there are currently localized contact restrictions.
Greece: Entry from most EU countries is permitted. However, travelers must register electronically at least 24 hours prior to arrival, stating where they have been and where they will be staying in Greece. Masks are mandatory for all closed facilities. On the beaches, umbrellas must be at least four meters apart. Masks must always be worn on ferries – even on the open decks. Greece has a low infection rate – compared to the population – but there has been an increased number of cases in recent days. For this reason, the government in Athens has ordered a partial lockdown for a small holiday island (Poros) for the first time since the outbreak of the pandemic. The most important rule: all taverns, dance bars and restaurants must close at 23.00 hrs. People have to wear masks outside as well. Meetings of more than nine people are not authorized. Additionally, all people entering the country via the national borders must present a negative corona test from August 17 onwards, regardless of which country they come from. The test must not be older than 72 hours. The Foreign Office in Berlin updated its travel advice for Greece accordingly on Monday.
Italy: Most holidaymakers from the EU or the Schengen area are allowed to enter without restrictions since June. Only for arrivals from Bulgaria and Romania a two-week quarantine was imposed; which also applies to visitors from non-EU countries. Within Italy, one can move around unhindered. The number of infections has been rising recently, with several hundred newly infected people a day – but they are still below the levels in Germany. Nevertheless, many Italians are worried. In shops, trains or other closed rooms, masks are mandatory at least until September. Larger gatherings of people are prohibited, and if people stand too close together and drink in the piazza, the police often intervene. On beaches, distance rules must be observed, however, this does not always work properly. In the bars and restaurants, many hosts have moved their tables almost completely outside. Sometimes there is an additional Plexiglas partition to the next table. Reservations in advance are desired, but not a must.
Spain: Travelers from the EU and the Schengen States are authorized to enter Spain without any restrictions. However, numbers of Corona infections have risen again, and are reason for concern. The Federal Foreign Office advises against tourist travel to the particularly affected regions of Catalonia, Navarre and Aragon. You have to fill out an online form and then you will receive a QR code which you have to show when entering Spain by plane. In the country itself, strict corona rules apply, such as the wearing of masks not only in enclosed public spaces but also outdoors, distance rules and restrictions on the number of guests in restaurants and other establishments. In big cities like Barcelona or Madrid, but also in Mallorca, the nightlife is very limited. In the Balearic Islands, the number of infections is also increasing, but the regional government claims that this is due to the fact that more tests are being done. Four smaller areas in Castilla y León and Murcia are closed due to local outbreaks. The central government in Madrid assures that the pandemic is still under control throughout the country.
Switzerland: The border is open to travelers from Schengen and some countries such as New Zealand and Australia. However, almost 50 countries and regions are on a risk list. Anyone who has been there in the 14 days prior to entry must be placed in a ten-day quarantine. Germany is not included, but Luxembourg, mainland Spain, Israel or Serbia are. Whoever violates the quarantine obligation is liable to a fine of up to 10,000 Swiss francs (around 9300 euros). Masks are mandatory on all public transport, including cable cars. Everything else is regulated differently by each of the cantons. Several require mouth and nose protection in shops. Restaurants, bars and clubs may be open again if they adhere to protection concepts with hygiene products or table distance. However, in many places the number of guests is limited.
(Stuttgarter Zeitung, August 11)
Balearic Islands – From safe to hotspot within two weeks
There is hardly any good news coming from Mallorca right now. The Balearic Islands are suffering from everything, except water shortages, as they do every year. Because it has rained enough. Above all because there are far fewer tourists. Which is mainly fatal.
At the end of July, the people on the islands were still hopeful. Since the end of the corona alert throughout Spain on June 21, the number of new infections had been limited. On July 24, the Spanish Ministry of Health reported an infection rate of 8.0 per 100,000 inhabitants within 14 days for the Balearic Islands. This was close to the German average. While the number of infected persons rose alarmingly, especially in the North-east of mainland Spain, Mallorca, Ibiza, Menorca and Formentera were labelled to be safe destinations. Then, however, came the bad news from London: at the end of July, the British Foreign Office declared all of Spain a risk area, including the Balearic and Canary Islands. Since then, returnees from there had to be quarantined in Great Britain for two weeks, and the situation has changed fundamentally.
In just two weeks, until August 7, the number of new infections registered in the Balearic Islands has increased seven and a half times, from 8.0 to 60.03 per 100,000 inhabitants in 14 days – in the United Kingdom, the figure is currently 16.5 cases per 100,000 inhabitants for the same period. Mallorca and the other Mediterranean islands can no longer advertise with special Covid-19 safety. The Mallorcan hotelier association reported a “cascade” of cancellations after the British veto two weeks ago. The situation has presumably not improved since then.
The re-spreading of the virus only seven weeks after the end of the state of alert is driving the whole of Spain up in flames. The number of infected people has increased tenfold during this time. On Friday afternoon, the Spanish Ministry of Health named a rate of almost 80 Covid-19 cases per 100 000 inhabitants in 14 days – the third highest rate in Europe after Luxembourg (137) and Romania (87.4). The Canary Islands are among the comparatively safe exceptions in Spain, with a current rate of 10.22 cases per 100 000 inhabitants. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, August 11)
Children with the sniffles allowed to attend daycare
At the beginning of the new kindergarten year, Federal Minister of Family Affairs Franziska Giffey (SPD) calls for clear guidelines for parents and care facilities in dealing with the corona pandemic. She said in Berlin on Monday that no feverish children should be sent to day care centers. However, “not every sniffling nose” should automatically lead to a child having to stay at home. In Giffey’s opinion, new nationwide daycare closures must be avoided. “We must do everything to prevent a second lockdown”, said the minister.
According to the guidelines for the regular operation of daycare centers, which Giffey presented on Monday, distance rules and the obligation to wear a mouth and nose protector should only apply to adults; and for teachers only when they are outside their own group. For children this rule does not exist, it is “simply not practicable”, says the Minister for Family Affairs. Besides the generally known hygiene measures, room ventilation is important. Childcare should be provided in fixed groups, and staff changes should be avoided as far as possible in order to be able to trace chains of infection in the event of coronavirus infection. It should continue to be a matter of course that feverish children stay at home, Giffey continues, and at the same time welcomes the decisions in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg to allow children to attend daycare despite having a cold. There should be free corona tests for teachers – even without symptoms. “There must be no differences between this and schools,” says the Minister. This must be financed from the individual State’s budget. In Baden-Württemberg, for example, “between August 17 and September 30, 2020, every person working at a school, a day care center will have the opportunity to be tested at least twice for free even if they are displaying no symptoms. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, August 11)
Non-Coronal related news:
Fire ban imposed for forests and public green spaces
From March 1 to October 31, according to the State Forest Act there is a general smoking ban in the forests. The city of Sindelfingen has also imposed a barbecue ban on all public green spaces and asks all citizens for support. At present, the German Weather Service’s danger index for forest fires in the region is between levels 4 and 5 (of 5) due to the lack of precipitation and the persistent heat and is therefore high to very high. The soils in forests and green spaces have dried up due to the heat, a carelessly thrown away cigarette butt or the flying sparks of a barbecue fire can cause a fire to spread rapidly – with fatal consequences. Anyone who uses barbecue areas or removes the barriers and signs despite the ban is committing an infringement of the regulations. In the event of a fire, call the fire department immediately on the emergency number 112. (Sindelfingen Press Release, August 10)
Traffic closure on parts of Wolfgang-Brumme-Allee in Boeblingen
As the Boeblingen City administration informs in a press release, Wolfgang-Brumme-Allee in the direction of Elbenplatz and Friedrich-List-Platz between the two roundabouts will be partially closed from Monday onwards. Since the former “City-Center” is currently being demolished, one lane in the direction of Wolfgang-Brumme-Allee must now be closed for safety reasons. The partial closure will take place from Monday, August 10, until presumably Friday, August 28; on weekdays from 8.30 a.m. to 6 p.m. An “Umleitung” sign (re-route) has been placed towards direction Elbenplatz/ Friedrich-List-Platz. Vehicular traffic will be rerouted via Talstraße – Sindelfinger Straße – Friedrich-List-Straße. The way is still open to pedestrians and cyclists. Access to the gas station and underground garage Wolfgang-Brumme-Allee 25 is still possible from the roundabout near the Mercaden. The same applies to the underground garage of the Kreissparkasse via the Friedrich-List roundabout.