Local news translated – Friday, Mar 5, 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, Mar 5, 2021

Number of regions above “emergency brake” threshold increase
Of the 412 regions reported by the Robert Koch Institute (which include counties, independent cities and Berlin districts), 63 exceed the 100 mark described by Chancellor Angela Merkel as the “emergency brake.” According to the latest RKI data, of the 20 regions with the highest values, ten are in Bavaria alone and eight in Thuringia. (Ntv, March 5)

Wieler: All vaccines in Germany provide very good protection against mutations
RKI head Lothar Wieler calls for people to be vaccinated if possible. All vaccines currently available in Germany provide “very good protection against contracting B1.1.7” and also the other known virus mutations. He emphasizes that new studies also showed that the discredited Astrazeneca vaccine “also has a high protective effect in people over 65” that is “not significantly different from the mRNA vaccines.”(Ntv, March 5)

Large companies want to vaccinate employees themselves
German businesses are offering to help the German government with vaccinations. Several large companies and associations are proposing to use their own forces to vaccinate employees as well as families and in some cases even non-employees in view of the slow pace of vaccination in Germany so far, as reported by the “Welt” newspaper. The proposal is to be the topic of discussion today at a meeting between the business community and Chancellor Angela Merkel.  (Welt, March 5)

Lauterbach: Thousands of deaths can be prevented this way
SPD health expert Karl Lauterbach is convinced that Germany is pursuing the wrong strategy with the resolutions passed on Wednesday. “The order we have now is the wrong way around,” he said in an interview with ntv. Instead, more testing should have been done first and then the R-value lowered, after which openings could have been decided. He also believes that the approach of enabling the population to carry out self-tests across the board is wrong. This would be conceivable in schools and companies if the results could also be checked. However, “everyone quickly takes a test of dubious quality when shopping” would lead nowhere.

The population underestimates “how many people live under the risk of becoming seriously ill in the third wave.” Once the third wave has started, “we will have completely different death rates” than the 400 or so that are now occurring every day. On the other hand, he considers the idea of increasing the intervals between two vaccinations to be suitable. This would allow more people to get their first vaccination earlier: “Then calculations show that you can prevent between 8,000 and 14,000 deaths in this third wave.” (Focus, March 5)

Coronavirus Baden-Württemberg – State implements relaxations of lockdown at county level
Stuttgart – In Baden-Württemberg, urban and rural districts with low infection rates will be allowed to relax the Corona lockdown more from Monday. This was agreed by Minister President Winfried Kretschmann (Greens) and Minister of Education Susanne Eisenmann on Thursday evening. Specifically, this means that in counties that are stable below 50 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants in seven days, among other things, the retail sector can open gradually.

The decision by the federal and state governments, which Baden-Württemberg now wants to implement, stipulates that starting next Monday, retailers can reopen if the 7-day incidence is below 50 – but with a limit of one customer per 10 square meters, or 20 square meters, depending on the sales area. Also possible then are the opening of museums, galleries, memorials, zoological and botanical gardens, as well as non-contact sports in small groups of up to a maximum of ten people in outdoor areas, including outdoor sports facilities. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Mar 5)

Is a retail rush looming in Böblingen County?
According to the new decisions by the federal and state governments, retailers in Böblingen would be allowed to open as early as March 8, and outdoor restaurants 14 days later, if the incidence value remains below 50. However, not everyone is enthusiastic about it, because Breuningerland in Sindelfingen would benefit from this permission, but the one in Ludwigsburg would not. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Mar 4)

Non Corona News

Interview with Stuttgart’s new Lord Mayor Frank Nopper – “Checking a spring festival in light version”

Looking ahead: You are starting out under difficult conditions. Your colleague from Tübingen, Boris Palmer, and other mayors have called for the municipalities to be given more freedom for decision-making. Do you agree with this?

LM: I think it makes sense that the rules should essentially be set at the state level. Otherwise, we’ll end up with a patchwork of municipalities that can no longer be organized. The important Corona decisions have to be made at the state level.

What would be the right decisions?

LM: We cannot impose an eternal lockdown on restaurateurs, retailers, cultural workers and citizens. As a first step, we should very seriously consider opening up outdoor gastronomy and using additional outdoor space for this purpose. I would be as generous as it is possible to be in that regard – both in designating the spaces and in other regulations. I would waive city fees in the 2021 Corona year. We should also look into having a light version of events like the Spring Festival.

What might that look like?

LM: A classic festival with tents will not be able to take place in April. If the legal and infection situation permits, I can imagine a beer garden version, i.e. outdoor catering on the Cannstatter Wasen with test stations. Compliance with hygiene regulations must be guaranteed. As an optimist, I expect that a real Cannstatt Folk Festival can then take place again in September. I will do my best to give a whimsical opening speech.

What do you sense when you walk through the city?

LM: People are longing to make contact. You can just feel it. It’s already incredibly difficult to keep up with the restrictions. I’m starting to wonder: who’s going to enforce all this when the temperatures go up? We face a real implementation and enforcement problem.

See Saturday night. The police had their hands full in the city. Did you expect that?

LM: I had already received indications from club operators on Monday that something might happen. Fortunately, the incidents were not comparable with the night of riots in June 2020. Nevertheless, they are unacceptable: If several hundred young people are sitting on the steps near the art museum without distance and without mouth protection, then that is reckless, irresponsible and lacks solidarity in the current infection situation. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Mar 4)

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