Local news translated – Tuesday, March 22

Host Nation Update, Mar 22, 2022

Editor’s Note: Off-Post COVID rules are regularly updated and consolidated on the Stuttgart Citizen’s Local Coronavirus Rules Explained page.

COVID numbers increase slightly
The seven-day incidence of new COVID infections has slightly increased in the Southwest. As reported by the State Health Office on Monday (as of 16:00) in Stuttgart, 1951.6 infections with the coronavirus per 100 000 inhabitants were detected within one week.  On the previous day, the incidence had been 1942.3, a week ago 1901.1, but the actual incidence is likely to be significantly higher because of a still high number of unreported cases.  In the previous day, the Stuttgart-based agency reported 30,564 new infections. The number of registered cases since the beginning of the pandemic thus increased to 2,747,880. 14,813 people have now been confirmed to have died from the coronavirus or in connection with it. Compared to the previous day, this was 23 more people. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Mar 22)

Kretschmann hints at waiving COVID requirements after April 2
Prime Minister of B-W Winfried Kretschmann, has indicated that he will not have any more protective measures implemented at any COVID hotspots in Baden-Württemberg after April 2. “These hotspots, they are on paper, but they are not legally applicable,” the Green politician said Monday evening.  The Greens and CDU coalition government in B-W had considered, after a transitional phase, beginning of April to declare the entire country as a “hotspot”, in order to be able to hold on to the protective measures such as masks and access restrictions a little longer because of the high incidences.

However, from the beginning, as in other countries, there were legal concerns about whether federal law would allow such a regulation for an entire country. The stricter hotspot regulations are intended more for localized, threatening infection situations; and the state parliament would have to decide on this.  Kretschmann fears that such a regulation on its own might not hold up in court. “We always see: people complain against it, then the courts collect it.” The head of government renewed his criticism of the government for taking the instruments for counteracting the pandemic out of the hands of the states with the law. However, Kretschmann also sees reason for optimism because of the milder Omicron variant, since not so many COVID patients end up in intensive care units anymore.   On Saturday, contact restrictions and also capacity limits for events that had been in place for months were completely removed in the southwest. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Mar 22)

Security guards on warning strike – Almost all flights canceled in Stuttgart
Due to a warning strike by security personnel, many connections at German airports have been canceled on Tuesday morning. Also the airport in Stuttgart is affected. Almost all connections are canceled on Tuesday. Only some Eurowings flights are scheduled to take place at lunchtime, according to the schedule, and Austrian flights to Vienna.

The strike was also felt at other airports: in Hamburg, all departures were canceled because security checks for passengers will remain closed all day. Frankfurt Airport called on passengers not to arrive because they would not be able to catch their flights due to the lack of checks. However, connecting flights are still possible at Germany’s most important hub.  The union has called to lay down work at a total of eight airports. In addition to Stuttgart, Hamburg and Frankfurt, employees in Berlin, Bremen, Hanover, Düsseldorf and Cologne/Bonn have also been called out.  In the collective bargaining negotiations with the Federal Association of Aviation Security Companies, the Verdi union is demanding that hourly wages be increased by at least one euro per hour and that wages be aligned regionally. The employers are accusing the union of being excessive. According to four rounds of negotiations, the two sides plan to meet again on Thursday in Raunheim near Frankfurt. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Mar 22)

Sindelfingen – “Glaspalast” becomes refugee accommodation
The federal government has begun transferring refugees from Ukraine to the individual German states.” In the process, the districts have been signaled that the capacities in the state initial reception facilities will quickly be exhausted. “We must therefore prepare for short-term admissions on a larger scale, and for this we need the appropriate capacities,” explains Roland Bernhard, District Administrator of Böblingen.

The state has now recommended calculating on the order of one hall every few days from the volume of people arriving. “Therefore, I am very grateful that the city of Sindelfingen has complied with our urgent request to be allowed to use the Glaspalast as an emergency shelter for temporary accommodation under the responsibility of the district,” said Bernhard. Already in the coming week, Ukrainian refugees are to move in there, according to the district office.  At the end of last week, a joint inspection had taken place, the preparations have already started. As already in the sports hall of the Gottlieb Daimler School as well as the sports hall of the Leonberg vocational school center, protective flooring is now being laid and partition walls erected in the Glaspalast, as well as the necessary equipment prepared. “For this, we can once again rely on the disaster and civil protection, which supports us in an exemplary manner,” praised the district administrator. District Fire Chief Guido Plischek is coordinating the set-up and, together with the civil protection units, is active there in the first few weeks as part of the care, medical service and psycho-social aftercare.  The agreement between the city of Sindelfingen and the district of Böblingen provides for use by the district at least until the end of August this year. As early as March 28, the Glaspalast is to be ready for people from Ukraine. About 400 places will be created in this way.  “It is our humanitarian duty to help here with all our strength,” says the mayor of Sindelfingen, Bernd Vöhringer. Border towns such as Sindelfingen’s twin town Chelm in Poland are reaching their limits, he said. “I am therefore pleased that together with the district we are able to prepare the Sindelfingen Glaspalast for housing refugees. We will continue to accept refugees directly from Chelm. And we want to welcome all Ukrainians who come to us in Sindelfingen in the district, give them security and prospects,” said the mayor.

The district of Böblingen has bundled all the information on aid options and offers on its homepage at www.lrabb.de.kompakt    Here you can also find information about the central donation account of the district of Böblingen, its cities and municipalities and the Kreissparkasse Böblingen. (Stuttgarter Nachrivhten, March 22)

Water supply in Baden-Württemberg – Climate change threatens drinking water
The supply of drinking water to people in Baden-Württemberg is still secure, but experts are calling for good preparation for climate change in this area as well. Bernhard Röhrle, spokesman for the state water supply (LW), said on the occasion of International Water Day this Tuesday that many springs in the southwest are flowing more sparsely due to increasing droughts, but at the same time the demand for water is growing due to rising temperatures. About three-quarters of drinking water in the southwest comes from groundwater and spring water.  Many of the more than 1300 water suppliers in Baden-Württemberg are therefore already preparing for the new conditions. According to Patrick Helber, drinking water supply for 600,000 people, began building nine of its own waterworks and merging 175 wells and springs 15 years ago. This is because the former isolated solutions of many cities have become too dangerous: If their own sources run dry, they need pipeline connections to other networks. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Mar 22)