What you need to know about new coronavirus measures in Munich and Bavaria

The southern state of Bavaria is struggling with rising coronavirus cases. These are where the hotspots are, and the new measures being brought in to try and control the spread.

What you need to know about new coronavirus measures in Munich and Bavaria
Face masks are now mandatory in some outdoor spots in Munich. Photo: DPA

Restrictions are being put in place in Munich and some other parts of Bavaria – the German state hit hardest in the coronavirus crisis.


New face mask rules

People in the Bavarian capital have to wear face masks in some parts of the city centre from 9am to 11pm. The obligation is in place until at least October 2nd.

Here's where mouth and nose coverings are mandatory: in the Old Town pedestrian zone including Schützenstraße, Stachus and Marienplatz, Sendlinger Straße including Sendlinger-Tor-Platz, and at Viktualienmarkt.

There are signs at the entrances to the areas to show when people have to wear masks. Some people are excluded from wearing them, including children under six and those who can't wear a covering for health reasons.

Police will enforce the measures, authorities said. Those caught not wearing a mask face a €250 fine.

Contact restrictions

From September 24th up to and including October 1st, people in Munich are only allowed to be in private and public spaces, such as outdoors or inn restaurants, with members of their own household, close relatives or in groups of up to five people from different households (previously meetings with 10 people was allowed).

Private celebrations, such as weddings, funerals, birthdays, school graduation ceremonies, and non-public events are generally only allowed with up to 25 people (previously 100) indoors or up to 50 participants (previously 200) outside. The organiser has to draw up a protection and hygiene plan.

Ban on selling and consuming alcohol in hotspots

In addition, as on previous weekends, from Friday evening to Sunday morning there will be a ban on alcohol for takeaway sales from 9pm and for consumption in public places from 11pm to 6am at the well-known hotspots Baldeplatz, Gärtnerplatz, Gerner Brücke, Wedekindplatz and at the Isar river area between Reichenbachbrücke and Wittelsbacherbrücke.

READ ALSO: 'Numbers are too high': Munich tightens coronavirus rules and contact restrictions

The fine for illegal alcohol consumption is at least €150. Any retailer who violates the ban on sales at hotspots after 9pm could be hit a fine of at least €500 depending on the situation and behaviour as well as in case of recurrence, the fine may be higher, authorities said.

Despite the restrictions coming in there is good news: the seven-day value in Munich has fallen below the threshold of 50 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants. It's now 45.1, as reported on Thursday by the the State Office for Health and Food Safety (LGL).

It was previously over 50 so measures were put in place.

Where else is affected?

The district of Dingolfing-Landau, north east of Munich, has one of the highest seven-day incidence rates in Germany due to an outbreak at the BMW plant there.

Strict rules are in force in this district until at least October 2nd to contain the further spread of the virus.

A maximum of five people from different households are allowed to meet in public spaces and restaurants, as well as in private.

Meanwhile, until further notice, the number of people at weddings, funerals or other gatherings will be limited to 100 people outdoors and 50 people indoors.

And pupils in most schools in the district have to wear a mouth and nose covering during lessons. Exceptions are made in some instances, such as for primary school age children.

Restaurants and other eateries have to shut by 11pm, while patients in hospitals and old people's homes can only be visited by one person per day from now on.

Nearly 40 employees have tested positive for the virus.

The district was already a nationwide hotspot in the summer due to a coronavirus outbreak on a vegetable farm and in a cannery in the municipality of Mamming, which resulted in around 250 infections among harvest workers.

Across Germany, only Hamm (96) and Remscheid (71.2) in North Rhine-Westphalia have higher rates than the Lower Bavarian district.

In Hamm some private celebrations are not being permitted due to the rise in infections. New rules mean a permit requirement is needed for private celebrations with 51 to 150 participants.

At midnight on Thursday, the RKI reported a value of 64.4, which is the highest number of newly infected people per 100,000 inhabitants in the whole of Bavaria in the last seven days.

What's the state of play across Germany?

The number of new infections within 24 hours across Germany was 2,153, the RKI reported on Friday.

READ ALSO: 'Panemic is in full swing now': Germany sees spike in number of coronavirus tests

At least 280,223 people in Germany have contracted coronavirus since the start of the outbreak and around 9,443 people have died, with 15 deaths within 24 hours.

According to RKI estimates, around 248,500 people have survived the infection. The number of active cases is therefore currently around 22,300.

According to research by German newspaper Zeit, which is based on the data provided by districts, 12,317 people have been infected with coronavirus in the last seven days.

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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