The “Shutdown Light” will apply in Germany from next Monday – people are facing the toughest austerity since the country came to a complete standstill in March. Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) sums it up: a “bitter pill” for the citizens.
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Many rules are crystal clear: the entire catering facility on the site will be closed, while schools and day-care centers will remain open for the time being. Still, questions remain open in a gray area. Most sports and travel options have been canceled. But there are exceptions.
Can I still play tennis or ride a horse?
The vast majority of recreational facilities are closed. This applies, for example, to swimming pools and fitness studios, but also to amateur sports in general. Team sports such as football, handball or hockey should therefore be avoided.
At the same time, so-called “individual sports” are allowed. This of course includes jogging. But sports played in pairs should still be possible – provided the public or private sports facility is not closed. This means that people can keep playing golf and tennis, or play sports or martial arts in the fresh air.
The German Golf Association (DGV), for example, assumes an exception for golf. But with the weather in November, not everything could always be this easy to implement.
Playing golf in times of the corona virus? Saskia Zieschank thinks: it works Photo: Mike Wolff / Tagesspiegel
And it is not yet entirely clear how the exceptions for individual sports will be given shape. The federal states still have to issue their resolutions in ordinances from Wednesday. The German Equestrian Association, for example, has confidence in it. “We are committed to treating equestrian sports in the sense of individual sport,” explains Soenke Lauterbach, the association’s secretary general. “Unfortunately, this cannot apply to group jumps.”
Dance enthusiasts should also prepare for a break: according to the association, the new Corona requirements are a hard blow for dance schools. “You could also speak of a shock,” says Heidi Schumacher of the General German Association for Dance Teachers (ADTV). The dance teachers are disappointed that despite hygiene concepts and distance, they have not been able to prevent the renewed closures from next week.
How can I travel to Germany?
Traveling is certainly not prohibited in Germany. The only question is where you can stay overnight. Because there is a blanket ban on accommodation across the country. No exception is made for a negative corona test.
However, it is good for consumers that they can withdraw from the booking free of charge and even reclaim the deposit. The Federation of German Consumer Organizations advises holidaymakers to refer to the so-called “impossibility of performance”.
In theory you can stay with family and friends. It is not prohibited, but it is also not recommended. Experts as well as state and federal governments have repeatedly and clearly called for people to stay at home and reduce contacts as much as possible.
For example, Chancellor Angela Merkel says the aim of the new measures is a “systematic reduction of contacts”. She explicitly mentioned a 75 percent reduction. This is the only way to reduce the risk of infection. Therefore, people are generally asked to refrain from private travel and visits – including family members – unless absolutely necessary.
[„Wir befinden uns nicht im Ausnahmezustand“, sagt der Verfassungsrechtler Oliver Lepsius. Lesen Sie hier ein Gespräch über die Rechtmäßigkeit der deutschen Corona-Politik.]
But there’s a glimmer of hope for gloomy November: Regionally limited day trips – to the nearby forest, for example – are still permitted.
Can my child play with friends?
What generally applies to adults, naturally also applies to children: during the whole month of November, children are not allowed to play with others at home. But they will continue to have social contacts. Because kindergartens, nurseries and schools remain open.
The background, however, is that, above all, the economic damage caused by parental absenteeism must be avoided. And: if the contamination situation on site deteriorates, schools or day care centers can of course also be closed.
Will the playgrounds remain open?
Playgrounds are not explicitly mentioned in the government decree. This includes museums, adult education centers and music schools. So there is a certain amount of ambiguity here. However, playgrounds can be assumed to remain open until further notice. Of course, the distance and hygiene rules also apply here. And that people should reduce their social contacts by 75 percent if possible.
Can I shop as usual?
During the big lockdown in March, usually only supermarkets were open, and depending on regional regulations also hardware stores or bicycle shops. This time, the wholesale and retail trade is generally open. But of course the hygiene requirements apply.
And there is another limitation: to avoid queues, access must be better controlled again. There should be no more than one customer on a sales area of ten square meters. The federal government’s motion originally spoke of 25 square meters.
This new ten square meter rule deviates from the March requirements. At that time, only department stores with a sales area of up to 800 square meters were allowed to open. Later, for example in Berlin, there was a need for a maximum of one customer per 20 square meters of sales area.
The new rule of ten square meters from Monday means: when the shop staff counts the shopping baskets and trolleys again, there can be lines in front of the shops again – just outside the door in November.