More easing of measures planned Restaurant and catering industry to gradually re-start from May 9

Bremen · Pizza at the Italian restaurant, Tafelspitz at the star-restaurant, bratwurst at the French fries stand – all of this is to be allowed for consumption on site again in May. But on certain conditions. The aim: to protect the gastronomy industry from an even worse outcome in the crisis.

 Tables folded up stand in front of an inn in the pedestrian zone of Speyer (symbol).

Tables folded up stand in front of an inn in the pedestrian zone of Speyer (symbol).

Foto: dpa/Uwe Anspach

The economics ministers of the federal states are striving for a nationwide controlled opening of the gastronomy industry in a corridor from May 9 to 22, subject to conditions.This was agreed on Tuesday evening in a video conference between the state ministers and Federal Minister of Economics Peter Altmaier (CDU). The aim is to open up tourist accommodation by the end of May.

Due to the corona pandemic, the opening of restaurants and catering establishments is conditional on strict adherence to hygiene regulations, distance rules and the presentation of a plan for the protection of employees. The recommendation is intended as a basis for the meeting between the Prime Ministers and Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) on Wednesday.The agreement shows that, contrary to criticism of inconsistent regulations, there is indeed agreement among the states to relax the rules as quickly as possible, Schleswig-Holstein's Minister of Economics Bernd Buchholz (FDP) told the German Press Agency on Tuesday evening. He said that the corridor from May 9 to 22 was due to the different situations and interests of the individual states.

In the draft resolution, Bremen had referred to the strong financial pressure in the restaurant industry. It was to be feared that there would be a wave of bankruptcies and, as a result, a high level of unemployment if there were no clear time perspectives, the draft said. Chairing the Conference of Economics Ministers, Bremen endeavoured to ensure that the procedure was as coordinated as possible. Some federal states such as Bavaria, Lower Saxony and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania already presented their own plans for the catering and tourism industry.

From May 18, hotels in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania will be open to locals. "From May 25, we will also open for guests from other federal states", said Wolfgang Waldmüller, chairman of the tourism association of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, on Tuesday. He added that infection prevention was still important, and that a capacity limit of 60 percent would apply initially. In Lower Saxony, hotels, pensions and youth hostels may be used for tourism from May 25. The goal, however, is to reduce the number of guests, according to the Ministry of Economics. A re-occupancy period of at least seven days applies to overnight accommodation. This means that a hotel room or accommodation may be re-occupied after seven days at the earliest.

Another topic of the conference was the Corona emergency aid. The federal government will stick to its decision not to subsidise the cost of living, according to a press release by the presiding state of Bremen. The federal states were free to set up their own programmes or to continue existing ones. This decision was met with incomprehension by the federal states.

Original text: dpa

Translation: Mareike Graepel

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