Debate about Christmas markets due to rising corona numbers

Status: 11.11.2021 4:01 p.m.

The Christmas markets are expected to open soon – but in view of the rising corona numbers, initial calls for the markets to be canceled are loud. There is also controversial discussion about possible rules such as 2G or the requirement to wear a mask.

In Germany, the sharply rising corona numbers have led to renewed debate about Christmas markets. While Saxony’s Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer called for the markets to be canceled, Bavaria’s Prime Minister Markus Söder was more cautious. He advocated a nationwide regulation.

“Child already fell into the well”

With Kretschmer, a first high-ranking politician spoke out in favor of such a step. “You can’t imagine standing at the Christmas market, drinking mulled wine, and everything in the hospitals is at an end and you’re fighting for the last resources,” said the CDU politician to the TV station RTL / ntv. The federal and state governments would now have to relieve mayors, district administrators and market operators from this difficult decision. If the infection dynamics continue until November 25th as in the past two weeks, that would be a terrible development, said Kretschmer. “The child has already fallen into the well. Now it’s a matter of getting it out.”

Söder calls for nationwide regulation

CSU boss Söder said he wanted to talk about major events such as Christmas markets at the next federal-state round. That doesn’t mean the markets can’t take place, he said. He respects when individual municipalities now make decisions here and cancel them, for example. But, as with the access rules for spectators in football stadiums, a nationwide regulation is necessary.

Association of cities and municipalities for 2G

The Association of Towns and Municipalities has spoken out in favor of access restrictions such as 2G or 2G-Plus – with an additional test – on the markets. “In the current situation, we consider 2G to be an important sign at the Christmas markets that the greatest possible security is guaranteed for visitors and employees,” said General Manager Gerd Landsberg of the Funke newspapers. It is not necessary that all federal states introduce uniform rules. “However, it would make sense if everyone could agree on a certain framework, which rules apply to which number of infections,” said Landsberg.

A “general mask requirement” is not necessary from the point of view of the municipalities, but: “Mouth and nose protection should be worn if the distances cannot be kept or if large groups come together outside.”

Showmen against the use of masks in markets

The German Schaustellerbund rejected a mask requirement at Christmas markets. “There is no mask requirement in pedestrian zones in Germany, so that should not apply to a Christmas market either,” President Albert Ritter told the Funke newspapers. In principle, the AHA rules apply to the Christmas markets. In particular, visitors do not have to wear mouth and nose protection because the markets take place outside. Doubts as to whether the distance rules by consuming alcohol on the markets should be observed at all, Ritter fended off: “Christmas markets are not the ballerina on Mallorca.” They belonged to the tradition, there it is “about a well-groomed togetherness”.

If the markets are canceled, the showmen’s association demanded an extension of the bridging allowances beyond their planned end on December 31, 2021. If there was another lockdown, Ritter would find it unjust to punish those of all people who obeyed the rules. He suggests: “At most, unvaccinated people could be excluded from the Christmas markets.”

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