Nightclubs and festivals to reopen in Bavaria after Covid shutdown

People dancing in a club in Berlin in 2016. Bavaria will allow clubs to reopen without masks or distance rules after the Covid shutdown.
People dancing in a club in Berlin in 2016. Bavaria will allow clubs to reopen without masks or distance rules after the Covid shutdown. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Sophia Kembowski
Clubs and discos are allowed to hold parties again in the southern state of Bavaria after more than 18 months of closure.

Only the vaccinated (geimpft), people who’ve recovered from Covid within the last six months (genesen) or those who’ve been PCR-tested (getestet) against Covid – known as the ‘3G plus’ rule because an antigen test is not enough – are allowed to enter clubs and festivals. 

And in clubs and discos there will be no Covid masks or distance rules.

In some other parts of Germany, the indoor areas of nightclubs have been open for some time – often with restrictions – while Bavaria remained cautious. 

READ ALSO: Techno, testing and Tanzverbot: What it’s like to go to Berlin’s clubs under Covid rules

Club owners spoke out in support of the move. 

Dierk Beyer, who owns two clubs in Munich, told BR24: “We have always said that it is important not to have any restrictions in the club. Masks and distance in the club – that doesn’t work. It’s all the more important that there are tough access restrictions.”

He said bouncers were prepared to carry out close checks to ensure a safe environment for the patrons and staff in the club.

The state government said that compliance with the restrictions will be checked. In case of violations, organisers face a fine of €5,000, while visitors to clubs could face penalties of €250 per person if they flout rules. 

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The Bavarian Hotel and Restaurant Association (Dehoga Bayern) welcomed the “end of the lockdown” for all sectors of the hospitality industry.

“Our heart is beating completely again. For one and a half years it was silent in Bavaria’s clubs and discos, for one and a half years we fought for their preservation and their re-opening,” said association president Angela Inselkammer.

According to Dehoga, there are more than 300 discos and nightclubs, 480 bars and 100 entertainment venues in Bavaria. For the most part, there was no way for them to generate revenue elsewhere, according to state managing director Thomas Geppert. “It is all the more important that now that things are starting up again, almost normal club operations are possible,” Geppert stressed.

READ ALSO: Bavaria mulls reopening clubs – but only for the vaccinated

The new rules do not exclude unvaccinated people as is the case in some areas of Germany such as in Hamburg or Berlin. To enter nightclubs in these regions you have to be vaccinated or recovered from Covid – the so-called 2G Covid health pass rule.

However, unvaccinated people will have to dig into their pockets for a PCR test, which usually costs around €50 depending on the provider. 

Although antigen tests are currently free to everyone across Germany, they will cost a fee from October 11th. 

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: Who will still get free Covid tests in Germany from October?

    Public festivals and Christmas markets given green light

    Meanwhile, the ban on public festivals in Bavaria has also been lifted. Access will only be allowed to people who have recovered from Covid, have been fully vaccinated or have can show a negative antigen test (the 3G rule), regardless of the incidence rate.

    The same rules apply to beer tents as to indoor catering – so masks are required when not at a table. 

    According to the state government, Christmas markets will be possible again this year in Bavaria as long as the Covid situation doesn’t get worse.

    Minister of economic affairs Hubert Aiwanger (Free Voters) said: “We are allowing folk festivals and Christmas markets again in Bavaria – that is good for society and the economy.”

    For many restaurateurs and associations, markets and festivals are also indispensable as a source of income. “I am glad that this step towards normality is now possible,” said Aiwanger. 

    However, the lifting of restrictions didn’t happen in time for this year’s Oktoberfest – which was due to kick off in Munich on September 18th.

    As The Local reported, as of Monday, the obligation for pupils to wear a Covid mask in the classroom, at other school events and at lunchtime is also being dropped in Bavaria. 

    This means that pupils will only have to wear a mask when on the move in a school building.


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