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EXPLAINED: The Covid rules for Germany’s ski resorts

Many of Germany’s ski resorts remain open despite the current Covid situation. But there are different rules in place across states. Here’s what you need to know. 

Winter sports enthusiasts on the slopes in Feldberg.
Winter sports enthusiasts on the slopes in Feldberg. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Philipp von Ditfurth

Bavaria

At the beginning of December, the Bavarian Council of Ministers abolished the 2G-plus rule in ski resorts, which required skiers to be vaccinated or recovered, as well as providing proof of a negative Covid test. 

Since then, a 2G rule has been in place on cable cars and other lift facilities – meaning access is permitted only for those who are vaccinated or recovered.

Children under the age of 14 do not require proof of 2G and the same exception applies to young people up to 17 years of age until January 12th, upon presentation of their student ID. 

Cable cars that seat more than ten people may only operate at a maximum capacity of 25 percent, while smaller cars may operate at up to 75 percent capacity. No capacity restrictions apply for open-air cable cars.

READ ALSO: What Covid rules are in place for the ski season across Europe?

Hotels and restaurants

The 2G rule also applies to accommodation establishments  and restaurants in Bavaria – meaning only vaccinated and recovered visitors will be able to stay. Guests are also required to wear FFP2 masks in common areas. The same exceptions for young people also apply in hotels and restaurants.

Baden-Württemberg

2G-plus rules have been in place for skiing in the Black Forest in Baden-Württemberg since December 27th. 

Here, cable cars and ski lifts are only open to vaccinated and recovered people who can also provide a negative antigen test.

Exempt from the test requirement are people with a booster vaccination, everyone whose second vaccination or recovery certificate is no older than three months, and schoolchildren, younger children and young people up to 17, as well as pregnant women in the first trimester of pregnancy.

Hotels and Restaurants

In Baden-Württemberg, alert level II is currently in effect. In alert level I and II, it is no longer possible to stay overnight in hotels without 2G status. and 2G+ applies in gastronomy and hotel catering. This means that even vaccinated and recovered people must present a negative rapid or PCR test, unless they have already received their booster no longer than three months ago. There is also a 10:30pm to 5am curfew for restaurants.

Empty hangers hanging on a ski lift. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-Zentralbild | Sebastian Kahnert

Saxony

In Saxony – one of the German states worst affected by the fourth wave – a Covid emergency ordinance is in force until January 9th.

This means that overnight stays for tourists are not allowed and the state’s ski resorts are closed.

Rhineland-Palatinate

The Erbeskopf ski resort in Rhineland-Palatinate is not currently open as it is still awaiting sufficient snowfall, but 2G-plus rules are planned – with vaccinated and recovered visitors having to wear FFP2 masks on the lifts and in the ski rental shops. 

Skiers will also have to register online before their visit as only one slope will be open, meaning the number of tickets will be limited.

Hotels and Restaurants

Access to indoor catering and hotels is only possible for vaccinated or recovered people or those who also have a current negative test certificate (2G-plus regulation). People with a booster vaccination do not need proof of testing, and schoolchildren, younger children and adolescents up to 17 years of age are exempt.

Hesse

In the Ski resort of Willingen, the 2G rule (access only for vaccinated and recovered people) applies throughout the ski area, except for children and teenagers. 

Mouth and nose protection in the form of an FFP2 mask or a medical mask must be worn in the ski rental areas, in the ticket office and cable car area, as well as in all means of transport (cable cars, chair lifts, T-bar lifts, etc.). There are no exceptions to this rule. 

Hotels and Restaurants

The 2G rule also applies to accommodation establishments and restaurants in Hesse – meaning only vaccinated and recovered visitors will be able to stay. Guests are also required to wear a medicinal masks in common areas.

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TRAVEL NEWS

German states threaten to block €9 ticket in Bundesrat

Germany's cut-price transport ticket is supposed to go on sale next Monday - but a battle over financing is threatening to torpedo the government's plans.

German states threaten to block €9 ticket in Bundesrat

An feud between the federal and state governments intensified on Monday as state leaders threatened to block the government’s most recent energy package when it is put to a vote in the Bundesrat on Friday. 

The battle relates to the government’s plans for a budget transport ticket that would allow people to travel on local and regional transport around Germany for just €9 per month.

Though the 16 states have agreed to support the ticket, transport ministers are arguing that the low-cost option will blow a hole in their budgets and lead to potential price hikes once autumn rolls around.

They claim that current funding promised by the Federal Transport Ministry doesn’t go far enough.

READ ALSO: 

“If the federal government believes it can be applauded on the backs of the states for a three-month consolation prize and that others should foot the bill, then it has made a huge mistake,” Bavaria’s Transport Minister Christian Bernreiter (CSU) told Bild on Monday.

The government has pledged €2.5 billion to the states to pay for the measure, as well as financial support for income lost during the Covid crisis. 

Transport Minister Volker Wissing. of the Free Democrats (FDP), said states would also receive the revenue of the €9 ticket from customers who take advantage of the offer. 

“For this ‘9 for 90 ticket’, the €2.5 billion is a complete assumption of the costs by the federal government,” said Wissing on Thursday. “In addition, the states are also allowed to keep the €9 from the ticket price, so they are very well funded here.”

Transport Minister Volker Wissing

Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) speaks ahead of a G7 summit in Düsseldorf.

However, federal states want a further €1.5 billion in order to increase staff, deal with extra fuel costs and to plan for the expansion of local transport in Germany.

Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania’s Minister for Economic Affairs, Reinhard Meyer (SPD), told Bild that there would be “no approval (on Friday) as long as the federal government does not provide additional funds.”

Baden-Württemberg’s Transport Minister Winfried Hermann (Greens) also warned that “the entire package of fuel rebate and €9 euro ticket could fail in the Bundesrat” if the government doesn’t agree to the state’s demands on funding.

The Bundesrat is Germany’s upper house of parliament, which is comprised of MPs serving in the state governments. Unlike in the Bundestag, where the traffic-light coalition of the Social Democrats (SPD), Greens and Free Democrats (FDP) has a majority, the CDU is the largest party in the Bundesrat. 

What is the €9 ticket?

The €9 monthly ticket was announced early this year as part of a package of energy relief measures for struggling households.

With the price of fuel rising dramatically amid supply bottlenecks and the war in Ukraine, the traffic-light coalition is hoping to encourage people to switch to public transport over summer instead. 

The ticket will run for three months from the start of June to the end of August, and will allow people to travel nationwide on local and regional transport. Long-distance trains like IC, EC and ICE trains will not be covered by the ticket. 

It should be available to purchase from May 23rd, primarily via ticket offices and the DB app and website. 

Some regional operators, including Berlin-Brandenburg’s VBB, have also pledged to offer the ticket at ticket machines.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How to get hold of the €9 travel ticket in Berlin

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