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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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COVID-19 RULES

Four German states call for end to mandatory Covid isolation

People in Germany have to isolate at home for at least five days if they test positive for Covid. But four states want to see a change to this rule.

Four German states call for end to mandatory Covid isolation

In a joint letter, the states of Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Hesse, and Schleswig-Holstein called on Health Minister Karl Lauterbach to drop the isolation requirement for people who get a Covid infection in Germany. 

Baden-Württemberg health minister Manne Lucha, of the Greens, said there should be a move towards people taking personal responsibility rather than the state ordering an isolation period, reported the Tagesschau. 

“We should gradually get into the mode of treating a corona infection like any other infectious disease where the rule is: if you are sick, stay at home,” said the Green politician.

The rules on isolation differ slightly from state to state in Germany, but the general requirement is that people who test positive for Covid have to go into isolation at home and avoid all contact with people outside the household. The isolation period lasts at least five days or a maximum of 10 days.

In some states, and for hospital and care workers, a negative test is required to end the isolation period early.

Several politicians – as well as Andreas Gassen, chairman of the board of the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians, have previously spoken out in favour of ending all Covid isolation and quarantine obligations.

READ ALSO: Should Germany get rid of Covid mandatory isolation?

The four German states called on Lauterbach, of the Social Democrats, to change the rules by October 10th.

In their letter, they refer to Austria, where the isolation obligation has been replaced by so-called “traffic restrictions” since August 1st.

Under these rules, people who get Covid-19 have to wear an FFP2 mask for 10 days in most places, and they are not allowed to visit nursing homes and clinics. They can, however, go to their workplace.

“The end of mandatory isolation has not led to any relevant increase in reported cases in Austria,” the four German health ministers said in their letter.

They argued that much of the population in Germany is immunised, either through vaccination or infection.

However, Lauterbach has so far rejected calls to get rid of the isolation requirement. He said that due to Covid cases rising, he didn’t want to “add fuel to the fire” and increase the risk of infections occurring in companies or at gatherings.

Bavaria’s health minister Klaus Holetschek (CSU), said he was worried about lots of people having to take time off work to isolate at the same time, which could put pressure on critical infrastructure. 

Schleswig-Holstein’s health minister Kerstin von der Decken (CDU), said the adjustment of the isolation rules would be “a step on the way back to normality.”

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