Bavaria reopens beer gardens, restaurants and cafes in areas with lower Covid rates

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Bavaria reopens beer gardens, restaurants and cafes in areas with lower Covid rates
A beer garden in Tübingen, Baden-Württemberg, which opened up in March as part of a pilot project by the city. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Christoph Schmidt

In some Bavarian districts with stable Covid rates, residents can enjoy an ice cold beer or coffee outside from today after more than six months of shutdown.


That's because Bavaria is allowing outdoor dining and beer gardens to open - as long as Covid rates are below a certain threshold.

According to the national ‘emergency brake’ law, regions must have a 7-day incidence below 100 on five consecutive days, in order to end a raft of restrictions, which include night-time curfews, contacts reduced to one person outside your own household, and the closure of all but essential shops.

After five days, according to the Bavarian health ministry, two days should be set aside for implementation and hygiene plans and reopening can happen on the eighth day.

A total of 13 districts and cities belong to this category - and can open beer gardens, outdoor cafes and restaurants, as well some cultural and leisure activities, reported regional broadcaster BR24.


These are the districts of Landsberg am Lech, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Starnberg, Tirschenreuth, Neustadt an der Waldnaab, Amberg-Sulzbach, Kitzingen, Würzburg and Lindau as well as for the cities of Passau, Bamberg, Schwabach and Erlangen. The district of Neuburg-Schrobenhausen will follow on Tuesday.

READ ALSO: Bavaria plans to open for tourists on May 21st

As has been the case throughout the pandemic across the 16 federal states, there is some guesswork about the exact provisions for the new regulations - both in terms of when areas can open parts of public life and at what point it may have to close them again if infection numbers spike.

When asked by BR24, the health ministry said if a district or city sees an increase of Covid infections that go above 100 cases per 100,000 people, it must close the facilities again.

Germany brought in the nationwide 'emergency brake' measures in April, which include curfews and forced closures of some businesses in a bid to control the spread of coronavirus.

It was aimed at bringing all states into line because some areas, including Tübingen in Baden-Württemberg, had ignored the rules on bringing in tougher measures if infections rise which were agreed by the states and Chancellor Angela Merkel in March.

But some states, including Bavaria, had opted to tighten rules when Covid-19 infections went up before the Germany-wide regulation happened.

Which regions could follow?

In the state capital Munich, beer gardens, cafes and restaurants should be allowed to open from Wednesday.

There are also some other districts which have clocked up five days under an incidence of 100 (as of Sunday) so these areas could be opening on Wednesday too: Bayreuth, Wunsiedel, Eichstätt, Nürnberger Land and Erding as well as the city of Würzburg.

Candidates for a possible opening on Thursday are the districts of Erlangen-Höchstadt and Forchheim. 

While the 7-day incidence is still above 50 infections per 100,000 residents, these businesses are able to welcome guests with reservations and negative coronavirus tests.


However, mandatory testing does not apply to fully vaccinated people and those who have recovered from Covid-19. As of Sunday, these groups face fewer Covid restrictions. 

All guests have to wear FFP2 masks when they are not at the table. Hospitality businesses have to close at 10pm.


What else is opening?

Theatres, concert halls and cinemas are also allowed to open if the coronavirus numbers are stable below 100. But they will have to shut if infections go up again.

Bavaria also plans to reopen tourism from May 21st.

Other regions, including Berlin, are also seeing a decrease in infections and will start opening up public life soon.


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