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HEALTH

Travel: Can you receive a refund if your destination is placed on Germany’s warning list?

More than 160 countries are currently on Germany’s travel warning list. If you’ve booked a trip to one of these destinations, can you get your deposit back?

Travel: Can you receive a refund if your destination is placed on Germany’s warning list?
Photo: DPA

As at August 31st, 2020, Germany’s warning list includes more than 160 countries – including some countries and regions within the European Union. 

READ ALSO: Who is allowed to travel to Germany from outside the EU? 

Some of the destinations which are currently on the list include popular holiday destinations inside Europe, such as parts of France, Spain, Croatia, Bulgaria, Romania and Belgium. 

Germany regularly updates its travel warning list. The updated list can be found on The Local here

This can cause problems for people who have booked holidays to destinations which later get placed on the list. 

Fortunately, if you book a holiday and the destination later gets placed on the list you are entitled to a refund on your deposit – although this will only be the case with regard to package tours. 

According to Germany’s Federal Foreign Office, down payments made on a trip must be repaid within 14 days of a cancellation due to a destination being placed on the list, reports DPA. 

This is if the cancellation is made by the holiday maker – if a cancellation is made by the airlines, refunds will also be available. 

Explained: What are your rights for cancelled flights in Germany? 

According to the Federation of German Consumer Organisations, a governmental travel warning – while not amounting to a ban on travel – has a “significant dissuasive effect”. 

As a result, travellers can cancel their bookings free of charge – and receive a return on their deposit. 

According to German law, the courts recognise placing a country on a travel warning list as a “force majeure” which entitles the holder to withdraw, as it “makes safe journey to the destination impossible. 

As reported by The Local Germany on Monday, German consumer advocates have called for an end to mandatory deposits for holiday bookings. 

Only package tours?

Unfortunately for hopeful travellers who have organised their own holidays rather than booked a package tour, the return of the deposit does not apply to self-booked flights. 

Those who have self-booked flights will need to look at the fine print of their booking, or hope to recoup their outlay through their travel insurance. 

Similarly, hotel, train and other bookings will depend on the specific conditions of the booking in question. 

 

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CULTURE

‘People liked the silence’: How Berlin’s club scene is struggling after lockdowns

Berlin's clubs are suffering from staff shortages, a lack of guests... and neighbours who've grown used to the silence, representatives for the scene say.

'People liked the silence': How Berlin's club scene is struggling after lockdowns

Some operators from Berlin’s club scene are bracing themselves for a difficult autumn. For months now, people have been allowed to dance again and life has returned to normal in the dark corners of Berlin’s famous nightlife scene.

But the clubs have far from recovered from the pandemic. They face staff shortages, rising prices and the prospect of a return to Covid restrictions in the autumn.

“We go into the autumn with huge fear, because the omens are totally unfavorable,” said association head Pamela Schobeß.

Spring and summer went anything but smoothly, she said. “There has been an oversupply of events. People aren’t going out as much, and some are still afraid to move around indoors.”

Money is also an issue. “A lot of people are afraid of rising energy prices.”

The industry lost workers during the pandemic and it’s hard to convince them to come back with the outlook for the autumn looking so gloomy, Schobeß says.

Her colleague Robin Schellenberg tells a similar story. People have switched to various other jobs and would even rather work on a supermarket checkout, which may have been considered less sexy in the past. Now, he says, some have learned to love not having to work nights.

READ ALSO: 

Schellenberg runs the Klunkerkranich, a small club on a parking garage deck in Neukölln. Because a number of things have become more expensive, they have also had to increase their admission prices.

His impression is that people are going out less often and are deciding more spontaneously. In addition, people in the neighborhood are now more sensitive to noise. “Many people found the silence very enticing,” he said.

Some in the industry wonder what will happen next. Will club admission have to become much more expensive? Will that exclude people who can no longer afford it? And what happens if Covid infection numbers rise sharply?

If masks become mandatory indoors in October, Schobeß believes that would be bad for the clubs. “Even if we don’t get shut down by the state, we’ll actually have to close down independently ourselves,” she reckons.

Masks take all the joy out of the experience, she says. People have drinks in their hands and are “jumping around and dancing” and then security guards have to tell them “please put your mask on.”

The federal government is considering whether states should be able to make masks mandatory indoors starting in October. Exceptions should be possible, such as at cultural and sporting events, for people who have been tested, recently vaccinated and recently recovered.

In the event that Covid numbers soar, the states could then be allowed to tighten the rules and eliminate all exemptions.

READ ALSO: German court declares techno to be music

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