ROUNDUP: Corona may also catch up with Christmas markets in 2021

BERLIN (dpa-AFX) – Every year again: Christmas market cancellation? While in Cologne on 11.11. Crowds swayed into the carnival, hundreds of thousands went to the Martinszug or Martin’s goose dinner and, for example, in Duisburg people were already sipping mulled wine at the 2G Christmas market that had just opened, thousands of showman families feared for their existence on Thursday. You see another cancellation of the Christmas markets. A déjà vu effect. Isn’t Advent 2021 going to be any better than last year’s?

A survey recently showed that the anticipation of the Christmas market in 2021 is actually very high given the waiver made last year.

“It is unbearable to hold your head for summer omissions for the second winter in a row,” said President Albert Ritter from the German Schaustellerbund (DSB) on Thursday.

Around 3,000 traditional Christmas markets are currently being set up all over Germany. Trusting the promises of the politicians, the showmen – mostly family businesses – built up, bought goods, hired staff and paid stand rents.

And now, almost at the last minute, the first calls for a change of plan are coming. Saxony’s Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer called for the cancellation of Christmas markets in view of the drastic increase in new corona infections.

In the program “Frühstart” on RTL / ntv, the CDU politician said: “You can’t imagine standing at the Christmas market, drinking mulled wine and everything in the hospitals is over and you’re fighting for the last few resources.” The federal and state governments would have to make the decision for local politicians and market operators.

DSB President Ritter told the newspapers of the Funke media group (Thursday online, Friday print) that if there were market cancellations due to increasing incidences, the bridging funds, which should end on New Year’s Eve, would have to be extended. In the event of another lockdown, Ritter would find it unjust to punish those of all people who obeyed the rules. “At most you could exclude unvaccinated people from the Christmas markets.”

Ritter emphasized that the markets cannot be compared with indoor events. In the Funke newspapers, he fought off doubts as to whether the rules of distance would be observed when consuming alcohol: “Christmas markets are not the most popular on Mallorca.” You drink a mulled wine and go on, maybe drink a second one at a different stand. “Christmas markets are part of the tradition; Ritter refuses to require a mask because there is no such thing as one in pedestrian zones.

Meanwhile, the Association of Towns and Municipalities is in favor of access restrictions such as 2G or 2G-Plus on the Christmas markets. “In the current situation, we consider 2G to be an important sign on the Christmas markets,” said managing director Gerd Landsberg to the Funke newspapers.

Rule 2G states that only those who have recovered and who have been vaccinated are allowed to enter the market. With 2G-Plus there is an additional test requirement for those who have recovered and who have been vaccinated.

A representative Yougov survey commissioned by the German Press Agency at the beginning of November showed that adults in Germany are completely at odds about which corona rules are appropriate for Christmas markets.

27 percent voted for 3G, a little less for 2G (22 percent). 18 percent would be enough distance rules. 17 percent wanted no restrictions whatsoever. “Christmas markets should be canceled this winter,” said only 8 percent initially.

There was agreement, however, about the anticipation of the magic of the booth: 71 percent of German citizens “definitely” or “probably” wanted to go to a Christmas market this year.

In contrast, the number of people who avoided Christmas markets was still small recently: only 4 percent said that they did not want to visit a Christmas market this year. “Probably not,” said 18 percent.

The Christmas market season in 2021 starts particularly early in some places, for example at “Winterzauber Berlin” or in Duisburg. The reason is that cities wanted to give the showmen higher sales after the long Corona break and to give people a cozy distraction./gth/DP/zb

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