Daily Host Nation Stories for May 15, 2020
Majority against loosening of measures
Further easing of measures to contain the corona pandemic? Restart the Bundesliga this weekend despite the virus? No is the answer of the majority of Germans to both questions in DeutschlandTrend. More than half of the Germans (56 percent) are in favor of maintaining the current restrictions to contain the corona pandemic. This means that every second voter is critical of further relaxation. This was the result of the DeutschlandTrend for the ARD morning magazine. In contrast, 40 percent of those questioned would support further relaxation of measures. Above all, supporters of the FDP (63 percent) and AfD (61 percent) are in favor of further opening. This means that within a week the opinion has virtually been reversed: immediately before the political agreement on easing the restrictions was reached, 54 percent of German citizens were still in support of such a withdrawal of the measures, while 41 percent were against it. (Ard Tagesschau, May 15)
So far 3.1 million corona tests in Germany
In Germany, a total of more than 3.1 million coronavirus tests have been carried out so far. Of these, around 197,100 have turned out positive, according to a new report by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). The report also shows that the capacities are far from being exhausted. According to the report, around 382,000 tests were carried out in 173 laboratories last week from 4 to 10 May. The test capacity during this period, was almost one million tests, according to the RKI. (Robert Koch Institute)
Agreement between the Federal Government and the states—Quarantine rule is coming to an end
In most of the federal states, a 14-day quarantine obligation currently applies to travel returnees. NRW has now abolished it – and it is also to be abolished nationwide. According to the NRW government there was an agreement on this. Those who enter Germany from EU and Schengen-associated states as well as from Great Britain will apparently soon no longer have to undergo quarantine. The obligation to spend two weeks in isolation to prevent the spread of the coronavirus is to be lifted nationwide in the next few days. This is what the states and the federal government have agreed on, the North Rhine-Westphalian state government announced.
In North Rhine-Westphalia, the regulation had already been lifted earlier. In addition to the EU countries, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland are now exempt from the quarantine obligation. This should make travel to neighboring countries much easier. NRW Prime Minister Armin Laschet spoke of a “sign of good neighbourliness and more Europe”.
The Federal Minister of the Interior, Horst Seehofer, had also recommended the federal states to relax the quarantine rules in force so far and to apply them only to people who had previously been in third countries; for example, no longer for Germans entering from France or the Netherlands. The decision about the quarantine rules is entirely up to the federal states. (Ard Tagesschau, May 15)
Private celebrations, weddings or baptisms will be allowed again
Corona easing on restrictions: In Baden-Württemberg, private events such as birthday celebrations, weddings or christenings with up to 100 people are to be permitted again as of June 1. An inter-ministerial working group had agreed on this.
According to information from the “Südwest Presse” and the “Badische Zeitung”, public events with fixed seating, such as club meetings or theater performances, will also be permitted on this scale. This is a step-by-step concept for the gradual admission of events, which an inter-ministerial working group appointed by the state government agreed on Thursday. The concept had been agreed upon with the municipal state associations and still has to be approved by the cabinet. The “Green-Black” parties of the state government have drawn up a step-by-step plan that envisages the gradual opening up of various areas of society. The traffic light system divides areas of public life from green to red – depending on the risk of corona infection.
According to the plan, major events with more than 1,000 participants will remain prohibited in Baden-Württemberg until 31 August. Most recently, the Ministry of Art in Stuttgart presented a timetable for the start of public cultural life after the corona break. Small artistic events should thus become possible after Whitsunday. (SWR, May 15)
As of Monday, restaurants will re-open. But how?
After weeks of a mandatory corona break, the catering trade in the southwest will at least be allowed to partially resume operations from Monday on. But the uncertainty is great. “We welcome the fact that at least parts of restaurant service may reopen,” says the Baden-Württemberg branch of the Dehoga hotel and restaurant association. “However, the conditions will lead to the fact that the businesses will not be able to generate normal sales—this is a result of the distance regulations.”
Uncertainty continues to prevail, due to corona safety regulations. What if customers want to reserve for a group of six guests? Is it possible to sit the group at one table? And what if the rush to the restaurants start getting out of control–will they need controls at the door? Not to mention the fact that the owners do not know how much food they should provide in advance. In addition, there are many establishments that still have no prospects of opening, says Dehoga. “Bars, pubs, discotheques—the hotel and restaurant industry is still a long way from an end to the crisis and from economic normality, despite the easing of the rules that will apply from May 18. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, May 15)
Stuttgart intensifies regulations for corona demonstrations
Stuttgart has tightened the conditions for the demonstration against the corona restrictions on Saturday. In order to guarantee protection against infection during the rally, a maximum of 5000 participants are allowed to take part in the rally on the wash-land, the city writes on its website. All participants must be able to keep the minimum distance permanently, it says. In addition, the city demands 500 stewards who wear mouth and nose protection. A total of 500,000 participants had registered for the demonstration. “It was a weighing of infection protection and freedom of assembly,” said Stuttgart’s Mayor for Security and Order, Martin Schairer, explaining the limitation. “The chairman of the meeting is responsible for ensuring that the conditions are met.” (Spiegel, May 15)