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More than half of Germans have no holiday plans this year due to coronavirus

Many Germans are not in the holiday mood this year or are planning to stay at home because of the pandemic, a new survey has found.

More than half of Germans have no holiday plans this year due to coronavirus
People on the beach in Sylt, Schleswig-Holstein. Photo: DPA

Compulsory masks on trains and planes, distance rules on beaches and in restaurants, scaled-back leisure programmes in tourist resorts: there's no doubt the 2020 holiday season is going to be very different compared to previous years.

And people in Germany are anticipating the changes, according to the survey conducted by the opinion research institute YouGov on behalf of DPA.

Overall, one in three respondents, or 22 percent, expect “severe” restrictions, while 11 percent expect “very severe” restrictions if they go on holiday this year.

Meanwhile, just over half (54 percent) of Germans believe their holidays will be “somewhat restricted”. Yet nine percent hope for a vacation like in normal times.

READ ALSO: From beach apps to day trip bans – the planned measures for German seaside visitors

A total of 2,066 people participated in the survey between June 17th and 19th.

More than one in three respondents (35 percent) said they were not in a holiday mood at all this year, while 22 percent have mixed feelings about going away.

Every fifth person (21 percent) has scaled-back their holiday plans, while 51 percent of all respondents say they have no holiday plans at all this year.

Of those who are planning a holiday, 36 percent intend to travel within Germany, and 30 percent – despite coronavirus – intend to go abroad over the course of the year. A total of 11 percent intend to travel within their own region, while 20 percent are planning holidays at home.

But those looking to snap up a holiday home will have to be quick because accommodation is filling up in well-known German tourist destinations such as the North and Baltic Sea areas.

Making up for lost time?

The Easter travel season was completely cancelled this year because of coronavirus lockdowns across Europe. Do many people plan to use the summer travel season to compensate for the lost spring holidays?

Yes, said around one in five people planning a holiday. A total of 14 percent now want to take a “slightly bigger” holiday, while five percent want a “significantly bigger” vacation.

But 79 percent of respondents say they don't want to compensate for the Easter trip with a longer or more expensive holiday.

The fact that many resorts are likely to have fewer tourist and gastronomy offers than usual because of the pandemic is dampening the mood of some.

A total of 36 percent find this “rather negative” or “very negative”.

But just under a third (29 percent) of those surveyed see fewer tourist offers than usual to be “rather positive” or even “very positive” – after all, this probably means less hustle and bustle in popular holiday destinations.

Ban on Gütersloh holidaymakers

Meanwhile, for people from the Gütersloh district in western Germany, holiday planning is even more tricky.

Just before the start of school summer holidays in North Rhine-Westphalia, travellers from the district, which is currently on lockdown, have been told they are no longer welcome everywhere due to the massive outbreak at the Tönnies meat processing plant.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about Germany's new local coronavirus lockdowns

Earlier this week authorities in the German island of Usedom turned away a couple from the district who had come to spend their holiday there.

Lower Saxony announced on Wednesday a ban on accommodation for tourists from the region who can't show a negative coronavirus test. Bavaria and Schleswig-Holstein have also announced restrictions on people visiting from the area.

Vocabulary

Travel season – (die) Reisesaison

Restricted – eingeschränkt

Maskenpflicht in Zügen und Flugzeugen – Obligation to wear masks on trains and planes

Hustle and bustle – (der) Trubel

We're aiming to help our readers improve their German by translating vocabulary from some of our news stories. Did you find this article useful? Let us know.

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COVID-19

Munich sees sharp rise in Covid cases after Oktoberfest

Since the start of Germany’s Oktoberfest, the incidence of Covid infections in Munich has risen sharply. Though a connection with the festival can’t yet be proven, it seems likely.

Munich sees sharp rise in Covid cases after Oktoberfest

Two weeks after the start of Oktoberfest, the Covid numbers in Munich have more than tripled.

On Sunday, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) reported an incidence of 768.7 for the city of Munich, though updated figures for the end of the festival are not expected until later in the week. Usually, on weekends and public holidays, there is a delay in reports.

In the entire state of Bavaria, the incidence value on Sunday was 692.5.

According to Munich’s public health officer, Beatrix Zurek, bed occupancy in Munich hospitals has also increased. Two weeks ago, 200 beds in Munich were occupied by Covid patients, whereas there are now around 350.

Though a relationship between the sharp rise in infections with Oktoberfest, which ended on Monday, can’t be proven at the moment, it seems very likely, according to experts. A significant increase in Covid incidences has also been shown at other public festivals – about one and a half weeks after the start. 

READ ALSO: Germany’s famed Oktoberfest opens after two-year pandemic hiatus

After a two-year break due to the pandemic, around 5.7 million visitors came to this year’s Wiesn according to the festival management – around 600,000 fewer than at the last Oktoberfest before the pandemic in 2019, when there were 6.3 million.

Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) took to Twitter to comment on the rise in incidence in Munich during the Oktoberfest. “This would not have been necessary if self-tests had been taken before admission,” he said.

“Compared to the price of a measure of beer, €2-3 (for tests) wouldn’t have mattered,” he said.

Even before the start of the Wiesn, he had spoken out in favour of people taking voluntary self-tests. Lauterbach stressed that now is the time for special measures against Covid.

“The development shows what will happen if the states wait too long with the mask obligation in indoor areas,” he added.

READ ALSO: KEY POINTS: Germany’s new Covid-19 rules from October

In neighbouring counties, where many Oktoberfest visitors came from, the number of Covid cases has also risen noticeably.  Beatrix Zurek said that it is unclear, however, how much of a role Oktoberfest played in these figures, as people are currently much more active socially overall, with concerts and other events also taking place throughout the state.

Christoph Spinner, an infections specialist at Munich’s Klinikum, has urged people not to be alarmed by the rising numbers.

“We had expected rising incidences here. We knew that there could be a doubling, tripling, even quadrupling,” he said.

He said that this is no cause for concern, as many people have been vaccinated or have also recovered from previous Covid infections, so any new infections are therefore usually mild.

The virologist advises people over 60 or with pre-existing conditions to get a second booster vaccination, but otherwise said people shouldn’t be alarmed by the rising incidences.

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