Restaurants: When can you go out again?

picture alliance, dpa, Roberto Pfeil

Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) and the heads of government of the federal states agreed on an opening plan for the corona pandemic on Wednesday. In principle, the lockdown should continue until March 28th. But there should be easing in the next few days. They apply above all to private contacts and business.

However, restaurant operators have to wait first. In concrete terms, bookstores, flower shops and garden markets are now allowed to reopen from Monday. In addition, there will be retail from Monday – depending on the incidence – although significant restrictions apply here (more on this here).

Only when the incidence in a country or region remains stable below 50 for 14 days after the retail trade opens on Monday, restaurants are allowed to serve outdoors. This should be the case from March 22 at the earliest.

However, if the incidence is only between 50 and 100 14 days after retail openings in a region or state, restaurants are still allowed to open outdoors. However, guests then need an appointment. Anyone who wants to sit at the same table with people from several households must also be able to present a daily updated COVID-10 quick test or self-test.

For all other restaurants without an outdoor area, it remains to be seen when they can open again for guests.

Outdoor restaurants could open in Lüneburg, Rostock or Münster

According to the figures from the Robert Koch Institute, restaurants could now open again in around 149 out of a total of 412 districts. These include cities such as Munich, Bonn and Leipzig. It looks even better in the districts that already have an incidence value below 35: These include around 49 districts, including the cities of Lüneburg, Rostock and Münster.

But: If the incidence rises above 100, all openings are withdrawn. Then the strict lockdown rules will come into effect again, which will apply until March 7th.

Leipzig restaurateur criticizes the opening plan

For the operator of the traditional Leipzig pub Auerbachs Keller, René Stoffregen, an opening would not be that far away according to the incidence value: It is currently 41.6 (as of March 4, 2021) in Leipzig. But its outside area only has six tables.

“I can’t feed 100 employees or pay 3000 square meters of lease from six free seats,” he says. So Stoffregen doesn’t want to open it at first. “The opening plan doesn’t help us at all, it’s a joke,” he says. So far, the restaurateur has only received a deposit from the November and December aid, he says. For four months, however, he has had to pay half the lease, around 25,000 euros, even though he is not taking any money.

Dehoga calls for an open perspective for restaurants without an outdoor area

Even after the first decision paper of the Corona summit was announced, the German Hotel and Restaurant Association (Dehoga) also demanded that there must also be an opening strategy for hotels and restaurants that do not have outdoor catering. Dehoga President Guido Zöllick said in an interview with Info-Radio: He continues to hope that the companies can open at Easter. The lead time is very short, but that brings problems with supply chains, but also with the planning of the guests. However, the Easter business is extremely important for the industry, he says.

However, Stoffregen has other concerns, even if he is allowed to reopen his restaurant: “If guests have to show a self-test that is not older than 24 hours, we have to be able to check it,” he says. To do this, however, he must assign staff that only have to deal with it and it must be understandable that the test really belongs to the respective person. “Basically, I need security staff to tell the guests whether they are allowed in or not,” he says.

It will therefore only be interesting for fabric rain from March 22nd: Then the federal and state governments will decide on further opening steps for restaurants that primarily receive guests in rooms.


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