Call for a uniform solution for all Growing criticism of travel rules for holidaymakers from risk areas

Berlin · The cities and municipalities are now calling on politicians to harmonise the accommodation rules better. Experts warn that it is important that all rules are effective and clearly comprehensible to people.

 People with mouth-and-nose protection wait for the incoming train on a track during rush hour.

People with mouth-and-nose protection wait for the incoming train on a track during rush hour.

Foto: dpa/Emilio Morenatti

The German cities and municipalities appeal to politicians to standardise the accommodation rules they have adopted. "It is important that all rules are effective and comprehensible to people," said Gerd Landsberg, Chief Executive of the German Association of Towns and Municipalities. "For this reason, the Federal Government and the Länder should in any case agree on a uniform solution which will then also apply nationwide and be comprehensible to the people. This is what we expect from the meeting between the Minister-Presidents and the Federal Chancellor," said Landsberg.

On Wednesday Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) will discuss the tightened corona measures with the heads of government of the Länder. The accommodation bans imposed by many Länder on holidaymakers from German high-risk areas have recently triggered heated discussions. Many politicians are calling for a withdrawal of the regulation agreed only last week. Berlin's mayor Michael Müller (SPD) and NRW's prime minister Armin Laschet (CDU) announced that they needed to talk.

Accommodation bans do not apply to business travellers

The decisive factor, said Landsberg, was that it should not only be about the individual overnight stay, but also about the considerable tourist traffic in the respective places. "It should also be made clear once again that such accommodation bans do not apply to business travellers. This is important for economic development," warned Landsberg. All in all, it must be ensured that really important regulations are laid down uniformly throughout Germany. "These include the implementation of the obligation to wear masks, the limitation of parties and celebrations as well as a ban on alcohol if corresponding maximum limits are exceeded".

Accommodation bans could in principle contribute to the fight against the pandemic, said Landsberg. In the summer, it had become apparent that the number of infections had risen due to travel in connection with returnees from risk areas abroad. "In this respect, it is understandable that the federal states demand that additional security requirements must also apply to travellers from a risk area in Germany. This can be proof of a negative corona test or even a ban on accommodation. Government spokesman Steffen Seibert said Merkel would listen to arguments from all sides. However, these are Länder regulations.

Families behave responsibly

On Monday morning, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) reported 2467 new corona infections within one day, compared to 1382 one week earlier. More and more cities exceed the warning value of 50 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants within seven days. According to the RKI, the value for Munich again exceeded the mark and is now 50.6. At the weekend, Cologne, Stuttgart, Essen and Mainz, among others, reported that the important warning level was exceeded.

The President of the Child Protection Association, Heinz Hilgers, warned against harming families in particular. "In the current holiday season, the accommodation bans are hitting the wrong people," said Hilgers. "It is bitter that children and their parents now have to pay the price for the unreasonableness of party-obsessed adults and often cannot go on their long planned holidays". For the most part, families would behave very responsibly. Hilgers warned that the number of cases of domestic violence could increase. "However, we will only know next year how things have really developed since the outbreak of the pandemic.“

(Original text: Kerstin Münstermann and Jan Drebe / Translation: Mareike Graepel)

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