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Anyone in Germany now?

We are supposed to leave next Friday. Landing in Salzburg. Doing the whole southern area with castles in Rhine area, etc. If you are currently there, could you answer the following for me?
- Are most restaurants still open? I hear of "empty shelves".... how are restaurants? I have Celiac and am afraid I'll get there and have no food to eat.
-Are most of the tourist sites (castles, etc) still open?

Thanks.

Posted by
8889 posts

I am on the border of Germany, I go to Germany most weeks, last time on Tuesday to do some shopping.
Everything is totally normal. Shops are normal, restaurants are open, unless you consult the media you wouldn't notice anything.
Some large gatherings are being cancelled (concerts, football matches etc.). This is less strict than Switzerland, which has banned all events with more than 1000 people attending, or France which has banned events with more than 5000.

Posted by
7625 posts

I live here. It is business as usual. Other than a distinct lack of tourists, you won't notice any difference. No one in Frankfurt is wearing masks, my grocery store had fairly full shelves last night at 20:00. Nothing is closed, except they have moved some of the trade fairs to autumn.

Posted by
1378 posts

I live in Berlin, Germany. Same here like described by Ms. Jo. No panic at all.

Some people reduce traveling, so airlines reduce their number of offered flights. A lot of train tickets are really cheap currently. Booked a 1st class ticket to Hamburg and back for 49 EUR for next week (incl. BahnCard50).

Some people buy more canned food to be able to live 2 weeks at home if virus is found. But supermarkets are well filled up. Also in the wholesale markets such as Metro no issue to find huge amount of food. Bakeries still have full offerings, also bread sorts for people with Gluten intolerance.

Germany's health system shows currently its strength because letality ratio of both viruses is currently under the ratio of the annual influenza. Btw.: most people do not die due to the virus but to other pre-illnesses.

The funny side: Local public TV / radio rbb was coming up with a Corona song video.

Posted by
3 posts

I went from frankfurt-Heidelburg-praque-En route to salzburg now and all is fine! No panic -Great time to travel cuz no crowds to hassle with and those that have common colds seem to be protecting themselves and others better than normal I.e masks, washing hands etc except I have noticed people coughing into hands Gross I wish they would cough into crook of arm like supposed to
I think I will come back to europe in two weeks again because I am loving the lack of crowds at otherwise normally overcrowded places (prague castle, old town etc )

Posted by
599 posts

First case of COVID-19 was reported yesterday in the Oberpfalz in Kümmersbruck near Amberg. Some children were sent home from school for a long weekend. Hand Sanitizer seems to be sold out in the local stores around me. I couldn't find any a few days ago. Locals are getting wary of traveling.

Posted by
1 posts

I came with the same question. Our family of 4 will arrive in Frankfurt, leaving next Friday. We will tour Bavaria, Neuschwanstein Castle and Munich. I'm pleased to hear that sights are still open. Should we reconsider any plans such as staying away from crowded places? Is there anything in the local news about the German government taking measures to limit crowd sizes in the next few weeks?

Posted by
8889 posts

Is there anything in the local news about the German government taking measures to limit crowd sizes in the next few weeks?

A few days ago, when they introduced a limit of 1000 people in Switzerland, I remember one comment on the Swiss news that in Germany such things are done at the local level, Land (state) or Gemeinde/Stadt (municipality/town).
There was also a story in the local that although Fasnacht (carnival) was cancelled in Basel, the (much smaller) one in the Basel suburb of Weil-am-Rhein took place, which is Germany but reachable by tram from Basel.
Here: https://www.bazonline.ch/basel/gemeinden/die-fasnacht-findet-statt-an-der-endstation-des-8ertrams/story/26912642

In short, AFAIK no crowd size limit in Germany.

Posted by
259 posts

Should we reconsider any plans such as staying away from crowded places? Is there anything in the local news about the German government taking measures to limit crowd sizes in the next few weeks?

From today's perspective, I do not think there is a need to stay away from those crowded places. They will be less crowded than usual, anyway :-) The number of cases is still very low compared to the overall population. Washing your hands more frequently than usual and/or taking hand sanitizer might make sense though.
There are no reports of any nation wide crows size limits, though a lot of events have been cancelled.

The situation is developing very "dynamically". So check regularly for any updates. Also consider the risk back home: Who knows whether there will be quarantine measures when you return from Europe?

Posted by
860 posts

The truth is that no one can predict the situation in one or two weeks. Europe and Germany aren't as well prepared as many East Asian countries, where numbers stagnate at a very low level. Here they almost double every second day, just like in China at the beginning.

Posted by
1378 posts

Disagree to Martin's opinion in a relevant point.

Level of preparedness is appropriate in Germany but look onto a map of Europe.

Germany is a central country on a multinational mainland with nine neighbor countries. No island like Japan, Taiwan or UK. Also no corner position to the sea such as South Korea. Germany sees thousands of travelers through our country every day, e. g. truck logistics.

The first single case with Webasto showed how professional this was handled, same with the people which were flying out of Wuhan.

Also the low number of dead people show how early and how good German healthcare covers pre-illnesses. Most people do not die from the corona virus but from other stuff they had before and in parallel then.

The current infection ratio is far behind the flu (18,000 cases per week) and the death ratio in Germany is lower than the flu currently. All numbers and assessments of current medical situation in Germany is available on website of Robert Koch Institute.

Where I agree: Nobody can look into the future.

Posted by
860 posts

Excuse me, but the reason East Asian countries do better than more or less the whole West is: they learned their lesson during the SARS scare, and reacted differently this time. They screen aggressively, they cut their connections to places heavily affected by the virus and forced everyone coming from there into a quarantine, and most importantly: EVERYONE wears a mask. That's by far the most effective way to contain an outbreak. The population wears surgical masks to protect others, the medical stuff wears better masks to protect themselves. Singapore stocked up 4 for every household.

Universal mask-wearing as one of the reasons widespread outbreak didn't occur

The reaction in this country is a mix of arrogance and ignorance. We have the best healthcare system, our protocols are suitable, there is nothing to worry about. Nothing is true. They failed to contain the outbreak, and are afraid to deviate from the protocols. To this day it's possible to travel to Northern Italy, and when you return you neither get automatically registered nor tested nor quarantined. Did you notice how many people got the virus in South Tyrol? That's not even regarded as a hotspot yet, probably because they simply didn't test enough.
They also never promoted the use of masks, with the result that no one wears them. But right now it's not possible to get one anyway, since the market is emptied, the production is in China, the authorities never stocked up, and sent most of what they had to China 2 weeks ago. Great move. Now even the Charite, probably Germanys most prestigious hospital, can't keep up the security protocols because there isn't enough protective gear. Oh, and a truckload was stolen yesterday...

Posted by
121 posts

If you are super worried depending on your carrier you can rebook. My friend and I were slated to travel at the end of the month and we rebooked (supposed to be there from March 25-April 11) but with the situation being so fluid, and us going to North Rhine Westphalia (sp?) I think its for the best since we can't see what will happen. We moved the whole thing to October (though it was a fun 8 hours of calling Lufthansa fiasco)--- thankfully we didn't lose much $$ (maybe $250 pp in total with the one hotel that was non-refundable). I'm not really concerned about how the German people or government is handling the response, but whether or not things would begin to close while on vacation, or how dumb the American government is with quarantine procedures (or lack thereof) and GERMY people in general. I think there is just as much of a risk if not more of getting Covid19 here (aka SARS cov2--- as it IS a form of SARS)..but I feel like by October either 1) everyone will have caught it and recovered or 2) they will have some drugs to help the critically ill if you do catch it and have issues 3) the world hopefully will practice better hygiene (fingers crossed). Americans are germy and going to LAX right now sounds very annoying.

Posted by
1378 posts

I would try to stay on recommendations which are made by official authorities.

Experts currently consider the wearing of a mouthguard to prevent
infection with Sars-CoV-2 unnecessary. The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) has
no evidence that they significantly reduce the risk of infection for a
healthy person
. The WHO even warns against wearing the "protective"
masks
. They would give the wearers a false sense of security. This
would neglect other, much more essential protective measures.
Summary from a detailed research by MDR

WHO: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public: When and how to use masks

Please read also the chapter "Infektions­schutzmaßnahmen" by RKI

As a personal exercise I recommend to not touch your head and face for two hours. You will be surprised.

@OP: I would recommend to read and be aware of the official flyer for travelers by RKI.

Posted by
463 posts

Frankly, that Germany has something like 950 coronavirus cases but no deaths sounds barely believeable. It may mean that deaths are classified under other causes (pneumonia, flu) but it does not sound good either.

Posted by
1548 posts

Frankly, that Germany has something like 950 coronavirus cases but no deaths sounds barely believeable. It may mean that deaths are classified under other causes (pneumonia, flu) but it does not sound good either.

Well, what do you think would be the reasons for downplaying the epidemia? Political ones like (initially) in the US? Certainly not, since Covid-19 data are neither collected nor interpreted by the government but by the regional health authorities and the Robert Koch Institute. Both operate independently of the government and are not subject to any orders of it (unless the government declares a state of emergency). And both organizations have no interest in playing down the epidemic. On the contrary, after years of budget stagnation and even cutbacks, they can now prove how important their work is. And they are stating clearly that the epidemia is growing exponentially.

Posted by
1378 posts

An explanation approach by Prof. Drosten, Head of Virology at the Berlin Charité and member of advisory board to Minister of Health, for the different case / death ratio of countries:

However, Drosten explained that Germany had recognised the virus at a
very early stage and thus secured an extreme lead in the detection of
the epidemic. "This has led to the fact that we now have very high
case numbers in the statistics without having to report relevant large
numbers of fatalities. The reason for this is that many laboratories
in this country became active at a very early stage and no national
institute is claiming tests for itself alone. Other countries have
lost a month or even more time.

Updates on situation in Germany:
- first closings of sights are declared, e. g. Reichstag dome.
- Bavaria bans events with more than 1,000 participants.
- Likely football games of next weekend will happen without visitors. Now it gets serious!
- First two deaths in Germany.

Posted by
1260 posts

Sadly, the most dangerous part of the journey may be the flight over and back. The US Surgeon General has recommended that seniors avoid flying. If we must fly, it is recommended that we avoid using the flight's restroom as they are potential contact with a large percentage of the plane's passengers. I suppose one could make all sorts of jokes about Seniors crossing the Atlantic without using the restroom. Even without the coronavirus and flu, flights across the Atlantic can end with pretty discouraging toilets. We have tickets to depart in mid April but it keeps looking less likely.

Posted by
249 posts

Any estimate on how long this "greater than 1,000 person" ban in Bavaria will last? Does this apply to the Passion Play?
Or of more importance to some folks, Oktoberfest?

Posted by
259 posts

Any estimate on how long this "greater than 1,000 person" ban in Bavaria will last? Does this apply to the Passion Play?

It is supposed to last till Good Friday. No one knows for sure what will happen afterwards. According to the media, the Passion Play organizers are indeed worried they might have to cancel the events.