What are Frankfurt’s new rules to control spread of Covid-19?

Tough measures are being introduced in Germany's financial capital to control the spread of coronavirus. We take a look.

What are Frankfurt's new rules to control spread of Covid-19?
A fairground ride as part of Frankfurt's Autumn in the City celebration. It now faces being postponed. Photo: DPA

What's the situation?

Like many other places in Germany, the number of coronavirus infections in Frankfurt is rising.

In the Hesse capital, the so-called incidence value, i.e. the number of new infections per 100,000 people over the past seven days, is approaching the threshold value of 50.

On Tuesday the incidence value was 46.5. About 300 people in the city are currently infected by the virus. Now the city has agreed on stricter measures.

The central state of Hesse has reported more than 20,100 coronavirus cases since the pandemic begin. There have been around 306,000 confirmed infections in Germany in total.

The capital Berlin has also introduced tougher measures as infection numbers soar across Europe.

EXPLAINED: What you need to know about Berlin's new coronavirus restrictions


What are the new rules?

– Frankfurt has announced a 10pm curfew for restaurants, bistros, pubs and bars. However, the curfew does not affect freedom of movement on streets, mayor Peter Feldmann of the Social Democrats, added. It also doesn't affect cinemas or events such as exhibitions or book fairs.

– Gatherings are limited to a maximum of 25 people in public or rented spaces, while in private there is an urgent recommendation to limit the number of people to 10.

– In shopping centres or busy shopping streets, face masks will become obligatory.

– There will also be a ban on alcohol consumption in public places and parks.  The ban is primarily intended to curb open-air parties.

– On Thursday the local government will set out exactly where compulsory masks will apply, as well as the locations of the alcohol ban.

When do the restrictions come into force?

All measures are to apply from Friday October 9th until next Sunday October 18th.

What else is planned?

The city is also considering postponing the launch of “Autumn in the City” (Herbst in der Stadt), a move that would hit firms in the city hard.

From Thursday onwards, 40 stall holders are being given the opportunity to gather in public squares to attract customers as part of the event.

Organisers have been urged to look at their safety and hygiene concept again to see if a solution can be found, such as a more stringent concept.

READ ALSO: 'Who's controlling it?': Why you could face domestic travel restrictions within Germany

What's the reaction?

Mayor Feldmann has called for an emergency meeting with 10 of Germany's largest cities on Friday to discuss how to coordinate measures and limit the spread of Covid-19.

“The message is relatively simple and clear: Coronavirus is still there and coronavirus is still dangerous,” said Feldmann.

“We are on the verge of the escalation stage red. The measures we have decided on today are sometimes severe.”

The aim of the measures is to prevent a general lockdown, he added.

“We are not making ourselves popular with this, but there is no other way,” said Feldmann. “The latest increase forces us to take measures that clearly intervene in the lives of citizens,” said Feldmann.

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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