Local news translated – Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021

HN Update, Nov 17

Corona alert level in Baden-Württemberg – Unvaccinated must prepare for restrictions
Stuttgart – Unvaccinated people in Baden-Württemberg will have to prepare themselves for severe restrictions from this Wednesday onwards. Only vaccinated and recovered people will now have access to cinemas, museums, swimming pools and most other public events. Even those who can only show a negative test in restaurants or cafés must stay outside. The Baden-Württemberg level system depends, among other things, on the number of Corona patients in intensive care units. The alert level is declared as soon as more than two days in a row over 390 Covid-19 patients must be treated in intensive care units. On Tuesday, that was the case. According to the state health department, there were (as of 4 p.m.) 424 Covid 19 cases in intensive care, 17 more than the previous day.

There are exceptions to the stricter rules, such as for public transportation and religious events. Retail stores are also on alert for 3G without mandatory PCR testing. Basic supply stores, such as supermarkets, as well as outdoor markets and pick-up and delivery services, are also exempt. For overnight hotel stays, however, unvaccinated persons must present a PCR test.  Contact restrictions for the unvaccinated will also be further tightened. Meetings are now only allowed for one household and one other person at the alert level. Those who have been vaccinated, those who have recovered and those who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons are exempt. Children and adolescents up to 17 years of age do not count.  (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Nov 17)

Full details on the change to ‘Alert’ status are available on the Citizen.

Christmas markets under increasing pressure
Despite the worsening pandemic situation, many larger cities in the southwest will have Christmas markets again this year. The organizers, for example, in Stuttgart, Karlsruhe and Ulm hold on to their markets despite the Corona alert level, which starts as of this Wednesday. There were cancellations, however, already in many smaller communities.  In Ulm, the market is to receive the first visitors as of next Monday. Already last Saturday, the booths were set up at the cathedral. Opening shall proceed as planned. The construction allows an implementation of the 2G rule with access only for vaccinated and recovered, it said. There will be access controls at four entrances in Ulm.  The Christmas market in Stuttgart is also scheduled to receive its first visitors on November 24 as planned. Whether it remains and whether the specifications will be tightened again, is currently still unclear. City and organizer want to inform on Thursday about further procedures.  

Karlsruhe is also sticking to its “Christkindlesmarkt”, which will start next Monday. With the alarm stage, which applies there, as well, the 2G rule applies. For the gastro areas with Glühwein or mulled wine, bratwurst and waffles, the organizers provide fences to cordon off. The Christmas markets in Freiburg, Heidelberg and Constance on Lake Constance are also scheduled to start this Thursday. 

Smaller cities such as Isny in the Allgäu and Bad Krozingen in the Black Forest have meanwhile cancelled their Christmas markets again in view of the current Corona infection figures. Also, for example, in the region around Heidelberg, the Christmas markets in smaller towns such as Neckargemünd and Leimen have already been canceled. 

The Christmas business is “immensely important” for the sellers and make up to 60 percent of the annual turnover.   While the Christmas markets in Baden-Württemberg are partly cancelled, there is no talk about cancellations at th neighbors in the German-French border region. The Alsace metropolis of Strasbourg wants to stage its Christmas market again on a grand scale after a Corona forced pause last year. More than 300 booths are to attract visitors as of November 26.  Due to the pandemic, mask-wearing will be mandatory at the market. There are specially designated zones for eating and drinking to avoid crowding in front of the booths. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Nov 17)

Non-Corona related news:

DoorDash – US delivery service launches Germany business in Stuttgart
Stuttgart – The US delivery service DoorDash is launching its new German business in Stuttgart. “Stuttgart is kind of a test for us to see if there’s an appetite in Germany for DoorDash,” co-founder Andy Fang said Wednesday in Stuttgart. “If we’re successful in Stuttgart, the experience we gain here will serve us well in other cities.”  DoorDash is the market-leading delivery company in the U.S., according to Fang.

The San Francisco-based company had announced only about a week ago that it would acquire Finnish provider Wolt, which is active in Berlin and other cities, for about seven billion euros. DoorDash is thus expanding its territory by more than 20 countries. In Europe, the Dutch group Just Eat Takeaway, which also owns the Lieferando brand, has been particularly strong so far.  DoorDash wants to help merchants go online, Fang said. Only 18.5 percent of restaurants in Germany are on an Internet delivery marketplace so far, he said. In addition to food, flowers and alcohol products will also be delivered to customers in Stuttgart, he said.  

The company plans to start with 30 courier drivers in the Baden-Württemberg capital. “I want to clarify that we employ courier drivers full-time in Germany through an agency,” Fang said. “We provide them with training for safety, and they get the equipment they need for their job – helmets, gloves, winter jackets. They also get e-bikes.”  Fang did not comment further on the deal with Wolt, saying it was not finalized. “I can’t say that much about it.” He said they were waiting for approval from competition authorities.  (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Nov 17)