Local news translated – Monday, Feb 22, 2021

Germany is currently under strict lockdown restrictions, which include curfews.
Click here for details on how the Baden-Württemberg ordinance affects the USAG Stuttgart community.

Daily Host Nation Update, Feb 22, 2021

Court rejects opening of fitness and tattoo studios
The Administrative Court (VGH) in Mannheim has rejected lawsuits against the closure of fitness and tattoo studios. In each case, an operator of such establishments had filed a complaint with the VGH against the prohibition of its operation. With decisions on Friday, they rejected the urgent applications, a spokesperson for the court announced on Monday. 

Since the Corona new infections per 100,000 inhabitants, per week nationwide remains above the value of 50, “Nationwide coordinated comprehensive protective measures aimed at an effective containment of the infection event are to be aimed at.” The ordered closure of the establishments by the State was part of such a nationwide coordination. Allowing individual locations to open “would lead to a significant increase in social contacts and infection risks across county borders.” The fact that the so-called seven-day incidence in Baden-Württemberg is now below the value of 50, will not change their decision. In addition, the court emphasized that the value in the southwest “has only been undercut for a few days and so far only slightly.” The decision can no longer be appealed. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Feb 22)

Vaccinations for teachers
B-W Health Minister Manfred Lucha (Greens) expects the German Health Ministers’ Conference to decide today, FEB 22, to raise the priority for vaccination of teachers and childcare givers to Category 2. In anticipation of that change, teachers and childcare givers can begin booking vaccination appointments. Lucha noted that the initiative for the change came from B-W, and “This is a group of people who are close to the action and who cannot always, even with good masks and a good test strategy, keep their distance.” The change in priorities was in part made possible by introducing the AstraZeneca vaccine to B-W’s program. B-W expects to receive 450,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine by mid-March. (SWR news, Feb 22)

Possibility of Test-base increases
The Director of the Institute for Tropical Medicine at University Tübingen Professor Peter Kremsner cautions that an increase in testing could also result in an increase in the incidence rate. Kremsner opined that the differing rates of testing in various areas explain the variances between cities, counties, and states. “When little testing is done, there is also a lower incidence level.” Beginning today, Feb 22, teachers and childcare givers are authorized two free rapid tests a week, and B-W expects to introduce free rapid testing for the public on Monday, Mar 1. (Stuttgarter Zeitung, Feb 22)

Non-Coronal related news

The A81 gets six lanes – 360 million Euros fight against traffic jams
Sindelfingen/Böblingen – One of the most annoying bottlenecks in the greater Stuttgart area will be eliminated. On Monday, the six-lane expansion of the A81 between the two exits Böblingen/Hulb and Sindelfingen/Ost will begin. It will cost 360 million Euros to widen the 7.2-kilometer stretch. Ten bridges will have to be blown up, and an 850-meter-long concrete cover will later provide noise protection for residents along the busy stretch. On average, a kilometer of highway costs ten million euros; in this case, it’s around 50 million euros. Construction is expected to take five years and be completed in 2026. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Feb 19)

For additional host nation news, please visit the below English language websites:

https://www.dw.com/en/top-stories/germany/s-1432
https://www.welt.de/english-news/