Local news translated – Dec. 6, 2022

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

Host Nation Update, Dec. 06, 2022 

Change in Corona rules – Countries disagree on mandatory masks on buses and trains

For the time being, the health ministers of the federal states have not decided on a new line for further changes to COVID protection requirements. The department heads had a meeting, however, there was no uniform proceeding for example to suspend the mask obligation in busses and trains. Most of the states wanted to extend the mask obligation in public transport until the end of the year, some beyond. It may change from “obligation” to “recommendation”. In the meeting, Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) and the President of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), Lothar Wieler, had spoken out in favor of maintaining the isolation rules and the mask obligation. They expected an increasing number of new infections and had pointed out the high mortality rate, especially among the elderly. The RKI sees no reason to change the previous recommendations on isolation.  In the meantime, Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg, Schleswig-Holstein, Hesse and Rhineland-Palatinate have lifted the isolation requirement of at least five days for those tested positive, which the RKI continues to recommend. On the further procedure with the mask obligation in buses and trains of the local traffic no mutual decision was agreed upon.  The transport ministers of the federal states had already recently not found a common position on this – some wanted to abolish the obligation on January 1, others only after the winter. For long-distance trains, the mandatory mask requirement is mandated by law nationwide until April 7, 2023.  (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Dec 5)


Christmas market – How two Ferris wheels shape Stuttgart’s Advent season

Everyone is talking about the Ferris wheel at the New Palace. But not far away there is another giant wheel. Even though it is much smaller, you can hardly get past it; it is a main attraction; especially not children.   The model for this can currently be seen on the Schlossplatz: the large, 58-meter high Ferris wheel and the approximately 5-meter smaller one. One is located in the courtyard of the New Palace and towers over it by far. The other is small and delicate in front of the Königsbau. The one was brought to the city by Lord Mayor Frank Nopper “as a sign of confidence” two years ago.  The start button was pressed at the Christmas market in 1993. Since then, the colorfully illuminated Riesenrädle has been making its rounds Advent after Advent in the direct vicinity of the large model railroad and the children’s carousel. Not much has changed in all these years. A new coat of paint, modern light fixtures, that’s it. The great constant are the children, “who can still be amazed today,” as “Children are children.” Little creatures with shining eyes. (Stgt Nachrichten, Dec 6)


Balloon paralyzes S-Bahn traffic in Stuttgart 

On Monday evening an air Balloon caused a short circuit on the overhead line at the Stuttgart Central Station, therefore, the police has now turned to the population with an appeal. “We would like to point out that balloons are prohibited on platforms. If the distance to the overhead line is too small, the high voltage in the overhead line can cause a life-threatening issue.” Around 8:30 p.m. on Monday evening, the balloon allegedly got too close to the overhead line of the S-Bahn track 102, causing a voltage flashover and subsequently a short circuit on the overhead line. According to the police, a component of the fire alarm system was also damaged. Police and firefighters cordoned off the platform. Due to the incident, S-Bahn traffic between the main station and Vaihingen was closed between 8:30 and 10:30 p.m. – even after that, delays continued into the night. The federal police are looking for witnesses who can provide information about the incident (0711/870350).

It was the second incident of this kind within a few days. Only last Thursday, a balloon had also caused a short circuit.  (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Dec 6)


Stuttgart weather – Some first snow expected next weekend

At the beginning of the week, a low pressure system moving from south to north will bring rain to Stuttgart. Above 500 meters, snow may occur, according to the German Weather Service (DWD). During the day, temperatures will be a maximum of four degrees. At night, temperatures can drop below zero degrees Celsius – freezing moisture can cause icy conditions locally.  As of Wednesday, it will get colder. By Friday, temperatures will drop to minus three degrees Celsius during the day. Despite fog and heavy clouds, it will remain mostly dry between Wednesday and Friday. 

Starting Friday, the weather will change. It will start raining coming from the west, with maximum temperatures of plus two degrees Celsius. It could also snow in Stuttgart on the weekend. But while there may be slippery conditions again at night, the snow is unlikely to stay during the day. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Dec 6) 


City of Filderstadt advertises – being prepared for emergencies

The important question is: “Do you have a supply at home if a storm rages outside? Are your most important documents handy if a fire or similar emergency forces you out of the house?”  The Filderstadt administration has reacted and, together with the volunteer fire department and the German Red Cross, has made preparations for special emergency situations. This includes, above all, the provision of official emergency meeting points. These are the five fire stations in the five city districts. These are to be the contact points for the population in the event of an emergency line failure in the Esslingen district, for example, or in the event of large-scale power failures or gas shortages. Citizens can seek help there, make emergency calls, warm up or charge electronic devices. And they can get more information. If necessary, the establishment of the emergency meeting points will be announced via the municipal homepage, the warning App “Nina”, and via the social media channels of the city administration and the Filderstadt Fire Department. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Dec 6) 


Nationwide warning day on December 8 via the “Modular warning system (MoWaS)”

Thursday, December 8, is the second nationwide warning day. At 11 a.m., a nationwide warning will be issued. Then at 11:45 a.m., the all-clear will be given. The aim is to make people more aware of the issue and to review the technical implementation and procedures. The Modular Warning System (MoWaS) is available to the federal, state and local governments for warning the population, for example in the event of an imminent flood. Warnings can be imported into this system. Depending on the warning level (urgency), the warning is passed on to a warning mix. This is important in order to reach as many people as possible. Components of the level of warning so far are television, radio, sirens and warning apps.  For the first time, warnings will be issued via cell broadcast in addition to the existing warning mix during the upcoming warning day. This will be sent to all cell phones that have dialed into a cell tower. This is similar to an SMS, so that no special app needs to be installed to receive the message. Currently, the system is under construction and not all cell phones are reached yet.    In the Esslingen district, there are currently a total of 34 sirens in 16 of the 44 municipalities. These are not yet connected to MoWaS. The municipalities can therefore decide for themselves whether to participate in the warning day with their sirens and trigger them at 11 a.m. and sound the warning at 11:45 a.m. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Dec 6)