LATEST: Munich to introduce alcohol ban if coronavirus cases continue to rise

The city of Munich says there will be a ban on the sale of takeaway alcohol drinks after 9pm if there's a further increase in Covid-19 cases.

LATEST: Munich to introduce alcohol ban if coronavirus cases continue to rise
Archive photo shows beer bottles on the side of the Isar river. Photo: DPA

If the city clocks up 35 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants in seven days, there will be a ban on the sale of takeaway alcoholic drinks after 9pm, said Mayor Dieter Reiter of the Social Democrats on Tuesday afternoon. 

In public areas, the consumption of alcohol won’t be allowed after 11pm. 

The current seven-day incidence lies at 28 new infections per 100,000 residents. Bavaria, in addition to Hesse and North Rhine-Westphalia, is currently one of the states hardest hit by new cases.

READ ALSO: These are Germany's new coronavirus hotspots

In Munich, particularly the centrally located Gärtnerplatz, English Garden and along the Isar river, lots of people have been partying outside as the coronavirus crisis has caused bars and pubs to shut their doors.  

In Hamburg, several districts have already agreed on a ban on takeaway beer over the weekend. A similar model also exists in Bamberg in northern Bavaria.

A police car drives past sunbathers in the English Garden on August 20th. Photo: DPA

'We have to prepare for a second wave'

In an interview with public broadcaster n-tv, Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Söder was asked whether new restrictions – such as a second lockdown – can be expected soon.

“First of all, we have to prepare ourselves for the second wave,” he said. “Anyone who now denies that coronavirus poses danger has really understood nothing.”

Söder warned that nobody could say exactly “from when the spring board to exponential development will occur”. 

For this reason, he said, it was important to react intelligently at an early stage in order to avoid another lockdown – especially for the economy. 

READ ALSO: Is Germany heading for a new lockdown amid rise in new coronavirus cases?

On Monday, Söder also announced that those in Bavaria who refuse to wear masks would now be fined even more heavily.

Söder said that people returning from holiday “coupled with great carelessness” caused the incidence of infections to rise everywhere in Germany.

“Holiday is exactly the risk we have always warned against,”  said Söder.

The politician, who's leader of the Christian Social Union, the Bavarian sister-party of Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats, warned that autumn holidays were already on the way in some states.

He considered the idea of abolishing or limiting coronavirus tests “not well thought out”.

The argument that test capacities are now exhausted is not valid, he said, pointing out that almost a quarter of capacities are still free.

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Germany should prepare for Covid wave in autumn, ministers warn

German health ministers say that tougher Covid restrictions should come back into force if a serious wave emerges in autumn.

Germany should prepare for Covid wave in autumn, ministers warn

Following a video meeting on Monday, the health ministers of Germany’s 16 states said tougher restrictions should be imposed again if they are needed. 

“The corona pandemic is not over yet – we must not be deceived by the current declining incidences,” said Saxony-Anhalt’s health minister Petra Grimm-Benne, of the Social Democrats, who currently chairs the Conference of Health Ministers (GMK).

According to the GMK, new virus variants are expected to appear in autumn and winter. Over the weekend, federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) also warned that the more dangerous Delta variant could return to Germany. “That is why the federal Ministry of Health should draw up a master plan to combat the corona pandemic as soon as possible and coordinate it with the states,” Grimm-Benne said.

Preparations should also include an amendment of the Infection Protection Act, ministers urged. They want to see the states given powers to react to the infection situation in autumn and winter. They called on the government to initiate the legislative process in a timely manner, and get the states actively involved.

The current Infection Protection Act expires on September 23rd this year. Germany has loosened much of its Covid restrictions in the last months, however, face masks are still compulsory on public transport as well as on planes. 

READ ALSO: Do people in Germany still have to wear Covid masks on planes?

The health ministers said that from autumn onwards, it should be possible for states to make masks compulsory indoors if the regional infection situation calls for it. Previously, wearing a Covid mask was obligatory in Germany when shopping and in restaurants and bars when not sitting at a table. 

Furthermore, the so-called 3G rule for accessing some venues and facilities – where people have to present proof of vaccination, recovery, or a negative test – should be implemented again if needed, as well as other infection protection rules, the ministers said. 

Bavaria’s health minister Klaus Holetschek, of the CSU, welcomed the ministers’ unanimous call for a revision of the Infection Protection Act. “The states must be able to take all necessary infection protection measures quickly, effectively, and with legal certainty,” he said.

North Rhine-Westphalia’s health minister Karl-Josef Laumann (CDU) warned that no one should “lull themselves into a false sense of security”.

“We must now prepare for the colder season and use the time to be able to answer important questions about the immunity of the population or the mechanisms of infection chains,” he said.

On Tuesday, Germany reported 86,253 Covid infections within the latest 24 hour period, as well as 215 Covid-related deaths. The 7-day incidence stood at 437.6 infections per 100,000 people. However, experts believe there could be twice as many infections because lots of cases go unreported. 

READ ALSO: Five things to know about the Covid pandemic in Germany right now