Court suspends 15km rule in Bavaria as Söder warns against relaxing Covid measures

A Bavarian court has provisionally overturned the ban on tourist day trips beyond a 15km radius. It came as the state leader called for patience when it comes to easing restrictions.

Court suspends 15km rule in Bavaria as Söder warns against relaxing Covid measures
Bavrian premier Markus Söder on Tuesday. Photo: DPA

The Administrative Court ruled the ban in all likelihood violated the principle of clarity.

For those affected, the spatial scope of the ban on tourist day trips beyond a radius of 15km around the municipality of residence was not sufficiently recognisable.

Since January 11th, parts of Bavaria which clock up more than 200 new infections per 100,000 residents have faced the rule. Residents there could only a travel within a maximum radius of 15 km from their place of residence.

Among others, three Social Democrat members in the state parliament had filed emergency motions against the regulation.

The court ruled, however, that municipalities still have the power to order an entry ban for tourist day trips remains in place.

The 15 km rule is also in place in other parts of Germany although not all states implemented the measure.

The decision of the Administrative Court is effective immediately – until a ruling is made in the main proceedings.

FFP2 masks should still be worn

The judges also confirmed that the Bavaria-wide FFP2 mask requirement will stay in place. Residents have to wear FFP2 masks while travelling on public transport and in shops.

They argued that the masks offered greater protection than medical or cloth masks. The costs for the purchase of masks was also considered reasonable.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about Bavaria’s FFP2 mask rule

Last week, Bavaria’s highest administrative judges provisionally overturned another coronavirus measure: the court saw no basis for a state-wide ban on consuming alcohol in public spaces.

The ban on drinking alcohol in public was put in place on December 11th 2020.

People playing in the snow in Munich. Photo: DPA

‘It’s not over yet’

It came as Bavarian state leader Markus Söder urged caution on exiting the lockdown too early.

Söder said the trend for falling coronavirus numbers was positive.

But he said the variants of the virus were a cause for concern.

He warned it would be a “toxic” combination for the variants to spread in Germany alongside measures being eased too early.

“We must not let up now, it is not over yet,” he stressed. “It is not the time for easing.”

The strategy is correct and the measures are working, said Söder.

However, he warned there was no reason to sound the all-clear and that the numbers were still too far from the target value of 50 new infections per 100,000 residents in seven days.

Nobody wants a “yo-yo effect”, he said.

“What’s the point of opening a shop for three weeks if you then have to close it again?”

Söder also slammed the slow progress of Covid-19 vaccinations in Germany.

He appealed to the federal government and the EU to make sure that vaccine supplies would improve. He added that for a country like Germany, it was unacceptable for vaccinations to be so slow.

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‘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.


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