Local news translated – Dec. 1, 2022

Graphic by U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart Public Affairs Office

Host Nation Update, Dec. 01, 2022 

Mask wearing on Public Transportation

Germany’s Conference of State and Federal Transportation Ministers met on Tuesday, Nov 29 for a special meeting to discuss mandatory mask wear on public transportation. The group reached consensus that the policy should be the same across all German states but were unable to reach consensus on what the policy would be. The topic will be on the agenda for next week’s meetings of the Conference of Health Ministers and the Conference of Minister Presidents. (SWR, Dec 1)  

Test for the case of disaster – Warning day on Dec. 8 with new cell phone info      

After 2020, a nationwide warning day will take place for the second time next Thursday, December 8. This will again test the various options for alerting and informing the population in the event of a disaster. A nationwide warning will be broadcast at 11 a.m., followed by the all-clear at 11:45 a.m.  This year’s action day also marks the start of the test operation of “cell broadcasting” by the federal government. This allows a message to be sent to all cell phones dialed into a cell tower without the need for a special app to be installed on the device – similar to an SMS. The message contains the warning text. This method is already in use in Austria, but is still being developed in this country and has not been rolled out everywhere. Those responsible assume that around half of cell phones will be reached on warning day.   In addition, there are already proven app services such as NINA or Katwarn. Their advantage is that more detailed information and behavioral instructions can be read about the respective event. In the Böblingen district, such population warnings were most recently issued in the case of drinking water contamination in Sindelfingen and Herrenberg, the discovery of a bomb in Leonberg and major fires in populated areas (for example, in Herrenberg and Weil der Stadt). “For a comprehensive population warning, all warning media are important, as they only develop their full effect in their entirety,” explains Martin Wuttke, deputy district administrator and, as department head, also responsible for the area of civil protection. “Cell broadcasting will increase the reach, as almost every cell phone can be reached. Warning apps, in turn, have the great advantage that more information can be transmitted there; as, of course, can radio and television. And sirens can wake the public at night when radio and cell phones are off.”  Together with the cities and municipalities, the district of Böblingen has agreed to establish a uniform district-wide siren network. So far, 20 municipalities have decided to participate, and for the remaining six municipalities, the topic is still on the agenda in the municipal council. “We expect the first sirens to go into operation in 2024,” says Wuttke. Where exactly the systems will be located then is currently being examined. As a rule, public buildings are planned, according to the district office. It is asked NOT to pass on any feedback to authorities or to the integrated control center on the warning day. More Info under: www.warnung-der-bevoelkerung.de  in the net. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Dec 1)

Stuttgart City – Cem Özdemir favors gun ban zone

 Agriculture Minister Cem Özdemir has spoken out in favor of introducing a gun ban zone in downtown Stuttgart. “No one needs to carry a knife or other weapons in downtown Stuttgart. The issue has been discussed for months now. It is still unclear whether there is a majority in the Stuttgart City Council for the project. The police had suggested such a ban in the spring, support has since come mainly from the CDU. The issue is being discussed more controversially within the other factions in the city council including the Greens, and the decision is expected in mid-December. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Nov 30)

Exception for (expanded) outdoor gastronomy in Stuttgart ends in 2023

Around 160 caterers, some of whom were able to double their outdoor space during the COVID pandemic, will have to cope with smaller spaces and fewer tables again from March 2023. The exemption, with which one wanted to support the industry in trouble, ends. The date was stated by the mayor for Public Order, Clemens Maier (FW) in the meeting of the administrative committee on Wednesday. 60 of the 160 cases had been approved on previous parking spaces, said Albrecht Stadler, department head at the Ordnungsamt. In total, he said, about 600 spaces have been approved for outdoor catering. The Greens in the council reacted on Thursday with the request to “perpetuate” the extended special use, to make the exception wherever possible the rule. One wants to secure existences and to animate with more outside catering trade the city. The council could still decide this in December. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Nov 30)

Mayor elections in Kornwestheim – Ursula Keck will not run for another term

The 59-year-old incumbent will not run for another term in Kornwestheim next year. After 16 years, she wants to vacate her seat in the summer of 2023. She has publicly explained her reasons.   Her period of reflection lasted longer than initially announced. But now it is clear: Ursula Keck (independent) will not run again for mayor in Kornwestheim. At a press conference called at short notice, the 59-year-old announced her decision late Wednesday afternoon. Next summer, she will vacate her chair in City Hall after 16 years in office. Ursula Keck has been mayor of the city of Kornwestheim since 2007. In late summer, she had approached several parliamentary groups to explore her options for a third candidacy. In recent months, it had become apparent that she had lost her support in the municipal council. Only two weeks ago, it became known that the CDU would not have supported the incumbent in the event of a renewed candidacy. The FDP, the SPD and the Free Voters had also kept their distance. Only the Green/Left parliamentary group had signaled support for her, Keck let slip. She cited the lack of support as one reason for her decision. “The city associations want a party-political election campaign. That doesn’t fit my claim,” she said. She said it was always important to her to be free in her decisions, without party political constraints. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Dec 1)