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AUSTRIA

German ski-jumpers disappoint at home

Austrian Gregor Schlierenzauer, the defending World Cup champion, won the second leg of the Four Hills ski jump event in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Bavaria on Friday. Germany's top-placed finish was Pascal Bodmer in 16th.

German ski-jumpers disappoint at home
Photo: DPA

The mainly German crowd of 25,000 had little to cheer in the home contingent, coached ironically by an Austrian in Werner Schuster. Bodmer was their top finisher in 16th spot while world championship runner-up Martin Schmitt could only come in 25th.

Schuster complained that Schmitt and co are “currently jumping well below their potential.”

Following a poor showing last Tuesday at Oberstdorf, where he could only place ninth, World Cup champion Schlierenzauer made no mistake as he leapt 136.5 and 137.5m for a total of 277.7 points.

That was enough to see off compatriot Wolfgang Loitzl, who twice jumped 135m for 272.5 points, while Swiss rival Simon Ammann was third after jumping 132 and 143.5m – a venue record – for 272.4 points.

Austrian Andreas Kofler, who won at Oberstdorf, came in fourth with leaps of 136 and 137 m for 271.9 points.

“The New Year has started off well – that was really a perfect day,” said Schlierenzauer, who put his off-day at Oberstdorf down to a stomach upset.

Finnish five-time overall winner Janne Ahonen, second at Oberstdorf on his comeback from retirement, could only manage sixth this time after jumps of 129.5m and 137m gave him 259.2 points.

After the two races Kofler leads the way with a 20-point advantage over Loitzl with Ahonen third five points further back.

After adding 2.5m to Schlierenzauer’s previous venue record of two years ago Ammann is fourth, just three points adrift of Ahonen – and three ahead of Schlierenzauer.

Ammann leads the overall World Cup standings after eight of 24 events with 529 points, with Schlierenzauer second on 511 ahead of Kofler on 426.

The next leg comes Sunday at Innsbruck with the final leg also in Austria, at Bischofshofen on January 6.

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BAVARIA

Bar closures and no Christmas markets: How Bavaria is tightening Covid rules

Bavaria will order the closure of all bars and clubs as part of sweeping new restrictions to try and control the Covid spread and ease overrun hospitals. Here's a look at what's planned.

Closed Christmas market stalls in Munich.
Closed Christmas market stalls in Munich. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Sven Hoppe

On Friday Bavarian state leader Markus Söder announced more tough restrictions to deal with spiralling Covid infections and packed intensive care units.

“The corona drama continues,” said Söder after the cabinet meeting, adding that 90 percent of Covid patients in state hospitals are unvaccinated. “Being unvaccinated is a real risk.”

Bavaria has a vaccination rate of 65.9 percent – lower than the nationwide rate of almost 68 percent.

READ ALSO: Bavaria cancels all Christmas markets in Covid surge

Söder said the state’s Covid package was about “blocking, braking and boosting”, adding that vaccination centres will be ramped up. 

“We must act,” he said. “Bavaria is exhausting almost all legal means until December 15th.”

Earlier this week, Bavaria introduced a state-wide 2G rule, meaning only vaccinated people (geimpft) and people who’ve recovered from Covid (genesen) can enter many public spaces. People who are eligible to get vaccinated but choose not to get it are excluded. 

Here’s an overview of the planned restrictions set to come in on Wednesday, as reported by local broadcaster BR24. 

Bars, clubs and restaurant curfew

From Wednesday, and for three weeks, all nightlife like clubs, discos, bars, pubs and brothels in Bavaria are set to close their doors. Restaurants will have to shut at 10pm. So planned Christmas nights out will likely need to be cancelled or postponed. 

Christmas markets

There will be no Christmas or Christkindl markets in Bavaria this year. In the past days, several cities had announced that they would not be holding these events this year due to the Covid situation. 

Contact restrictions on the unvaccinated

Söder announced new restrictions on the number of people those who are not inoculated can socialise with. A maximum of five unvaccinated people will be allowed to meet, from two different households. Children under 12 will not be included in the total, as well as vaccinated or people who’ve recovered from Covid.

Cultural and sporting events

All cultural and sporting events can only take place with significantly reduced spectators. At theatres, opera performances, sporting events, in leisure centres and at trade fairs, there will be a 25-percent capacity limit. The 2G plus rule also applies. This means that only vaccinated and recovered people are allowed to enter (not the unvaccinated) – and only with a negative rapid test. Masks are compulsory everywhere.

Universities, driving schools, close-body services: 2G plus

All universities, driving schools, adult education centres and music schools will only be open to those who have been vaccinated and have recovered – making it 2G. This rule also applies to body-related services, like hairdressers and beauty salons. Only medical, therapeutic and nursing services are exempt from the 2G rule. So unvaccinated people can still go to the doctor or receive a medical procedure. 

KEY POINTS: Germany finalises new Covid restrictions for winter

Shops

Shops remain exempt from 2G rules, meaning unvaccinated people can visit them. However, there is to be limits on capacity. This means that fewer customers are allowed into a shop at the same time.

Special rules for hotspots

Currently, the incidence in eight Bavarian districts is above 1,000 infections per 100,000 people in seven days. Here and in all other regions where the incidence goes above this number, public life is to be shut down as far as possible.

This means that restaurants, hotels and all sports and cultural venues will have to close. Hairdressers and other body-related service providers will also not be allowed to open for three weeks, and events will also have to be cancelled. Universities will only be allowed to offer digital teaching. Shops will remain open, but there must be 20 square metres of space per customer. This means that only half as many customers as in other regions are allowed in a shop.

If the incidence falls below 1,000 for at least five days, the rules are lifted.

Schools and daycare

Throughout Bavaria, schools and daycare centres are to remain open. However, there will be regular Covid testing. Children and young people have to continue to wear a face mask during lessons, including school sports, unless they are exercising outside. 

Bavaria is expected to approve the measures on Tuesday and they will be in force until at least December 15th. We’ll keep you updated if there are any changes. 

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