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5 May, 2020 14:03

‘Corona is under control’: Bavaria lets residents go out & businesses reopen despite Covid-19 still blighting Germany

‘Corona is under control’: Bavaria lets residents go out & businesses reopen despite Covid-19 still blighting Germany

Despite warnings the Covid-19 crisis isn’t over, one of Germany’s wealthiest states is set to open up, allowing people to go out for any reason and letting almost all businesses – from retail to tourism – welcome visitors again.

“Now it is time to act,” proclaimed Bavaria’s Prime Minister Markus Soeder as he rolled out“a path of reason” for the wealthy Alpine state. “In the beginning we had an explosive [rate of] infection,” Soeder admitted, adding though that “coronavirus is now under control.”

Bavaria claims almost one-quarter – over 43,000 – of all confirmed coronavirus infections in Germany, but the number of fresh cases has dropped by more than half across the region, he said, explaining why relaxing the lockdown is an option. The current figures “allow for careful steps toward opening up,” provided that a “combination of caution and freedom” prevail.

Starting from May 6, Bavarians can visit anyone outside their own household. Seeing relatives in nursing homes will also become possible this weekend, although strict rules will remain in place, with visitors still having to wear masks at all times and meet their loved ones outdoors wherever possible.

From May 11, zoos, botanical gardens, museums, libraries, galleries, exhibitions, and memorials will likewise open their doors – but only conditionally, meaning that their staff will have to accommodate social distancing and coronavirus hygiene measures.

Supermarkets and stores with premises bigger than 800 square meters are also cleared to resume their activities.

Locals will be able to more fully enjoy the outdoors in the second half of May when the state-wide ban on open-air dining is lifted. Bavaria, on a par with a handful of other German states, is also allowing hotels and leisure places to welcome visitors again, to much relief of its tourism industry.

Some other states, including Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Saxony-Anhalt, have partially followed Bavaria’s suit – but stopped short of going this far in lifting the lockdown. Just across the border though in neighboring Austria, authorities are also opening up the country’s picturesque Alpine resorts.

Vienna has already floated opening up the border, garnering an angry rebuke from Berlin. “As long as the virus does not go on vacation, we also have to restrict our travel plans,” Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, himself a Bavaria native, responded this week.

“Disease protection has its own timetable,” he stated.

Also on rt.com ‘As long as coronavirus doesn't go on vacation’: German interior minister warns against ‘reckless’ reopening of borders

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