The current lockdown rules will be extended until March 7th. Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) and the heads of state of the federal states agreed on this on Wednesday. Hotels and bars will therefore remain closed. Should the so-called seven-day incidence – that is, the number of new infections per 100,000 inhabitants within a week – have fallen steadily below 35 by then, the restrictions should be gradually relaxed by the federal states.
So far, however, the government decision has only noted the conditions under which the retail trade may open in the next step: only one customer is allowed into the store per 20 square meters. For the catering and hotel industry, however, there are no further concrete steps as to the conditions under which restaurants and bars may reopen.
“We expect that the same rules will apply to everyone through a concrete action plan. And then retail and gastronomy must be allowed to open at the same time! ”, Says General Manager Andreabelante from the Federal Association of System Gastronomy eV (BdS) to NewsABC.net. It is not to be explained to anyone why, if specific hygiene concepts are adhered to, industries should be assessed differently.
The BdS is not the only association that criticizes the opening perspectives in the new Corona resolutions, restaurateurs are also protesting.
Associations and restaurateurs criticize opening steps for retailers
Gregor Lemke, the spokesman for the Association of Munich City Center Hosts, does not want to join any envy debate among various industries, he says. Nevertheless, it is frustrating that the restaurateurs fell back on the decisions of the Corona summit, he told NewsABC.net. “The government is showing a certain helplessness because it is unable to develop a cross-industry opening strategy,” he says.
Patrick Junge, head of the burger chain Peter Pane, takes a tougher position on the different opening perspectives of the industries: “I don’t rate the unequal treatment of retail and gastronomy as justified,” he tells NewsABC.net. Reliable, comprehensive tests and evaluations have shown that the risk of infection in the catering trade is marginal and that the retail trade carries far more risks.
The German Hotel and Restaurant Association (Dehoga) is also disappointed with the decisions, says Dehoga Managing Director Ingrid Hartges to NewsABC.net. “We were the first to close in the spring and were the last to be allowed to reopen,” she says. It can’t be about playing one industry off against the other, she says. But: “The concept for an opening strategy agreed upon at the last meeting on January 19th was unfortunately not presented,” she says. Then you could have shown an opening scenario for restaurants and hotels in addition to hairdressers and retailers. “We expect politicians to do their homework by March 3,” said Hartges. Because the industry has now been completely closed for almost six months since March 2020.
The federal government announced an opening strategy in January
In fact, the federal government had already announced in a resolution of the first Corona summit on January 19 that it would commission a working group that was supposed to work out a concept for a safe and fair opening strategy by now. However, there is no such thing in the latest resolution until now. Instead, just opening steps for two industries and again the reference to a working group that should develop further steps for opening up culture, sport in groups, leisure time, as well as gastronomy and the hotel industry.
This approach is understandable for the BdS, according to Voucher. “It makes many angry, rightly, that politicians have not managed to develop such an opening strategy – despite a clear commitment in January and despite many offers of support from many industries,” she says. This time you would have finally expected comprehensible, concrete steps and measures towards opening up, according to Voucherante. The basis for this is there: officially approved, strict hygiene concepts that your industry would have established across Germany in April 2020.
However, Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) defended the decision against a fixed timetable for further opening steps in the Corona crisis.
Chancellor Merkel defends a fixed timetable for further opening
The Chancellor explained that one must first see how well the contact tracking works, how the Corona app and increases in the health authorities have an effect, what test strategies and better protective measures would bring. Further easing should not lead to a new wave in which the virus prevails and there would be an exponential increase in the number of infections.
It is of no use if the restaurateurs and hoteliers reopened quickly and had to close again in April, says Hartges. “But you can expect that to be gradually increased,” she says. “We hope that we can open again a week before Easter so that we don’t miss the Easter business a second time,” she says.
System catering also considers a step-by-step plan to be sensible: it should allow catering to be opened again from a 7-day incidence value of 50. After all, this number, which had been chiseled in stone for months, was apparently given up without further ado. That is neither reliable nor transparent, saysbelante.