The German Government lifted the ban on traveling to the Balearic Islands on March 12, but there are already many voices in the country that advise against travel abroad, given the generalized spike in infections in Europe.
This Sunday it was the main minister of the state of Lower Saxony, Stephan Weil, who has advocated for suspending the authorization to travel to the Balearic Islands. ” The decision of the federal government to lift the travel notice for Mallorca has been a serious mistake, ” Weil said in statements to RND . “The best thing would be for the federal government to back down.”
“If (Merkel) is not willing to do so, it will be necessary to open a serious debate on strict testing and quarantine obligations for the return . The contagion rate in Mallorca may not be critical, but when people from all over Europe gather in the Island in Easter we will have an immediate focus “, has argued the leader of the Social Democratic Party (SPD).
Likewise, Weil has indicated that it is “difficult to explain” that you cannot book a family vacation in the Lüneburg heath, but you can travel by plane to Mallorca. “We should at least be able to go on vacation to isolated apartments in Germany,” he said.
In the same vein, the president of the federal state of Mecklenburg-Antepomerania, Manuela Schwesig, has said in statements to the Deutschlandfunk station that “no one can understand that the option of a holiday in Mallorca now prevails over one in the own country for epidemiological reasons “.
In this sense, he has advocated in favor of allowing “at least one non-contact holiday”, that is, that people can move within the country, for example to their second residence, and has wondered why a stay in Mallorca “is less dangerous “than sitting in the car and traveling an hour to the German coast .
The head of the Government of Saxony-Anhalt, Reiner Haseloff, has spoken along the same lines, in statements to the newspaper Bild, stating that ” there are still hopes of autarkic tourism” within the federal state itself and within the same bubble of coexistence.
Germany will decide this Monday on mobility
On Monday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel meets again with the heads of government of federal states to discuss the next steps with the escalation of new infections by coronavirus that have again put the cumulative incidence in seven days above of the 100 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.
Everything indicates that it will be necessary to apply the agreed “emergency brake” and reintroduce part of the restrictions that had been lifted as part of a phased process of reopening public life. It is expected that this Monday a decision will also be made about Easter and mobility within the country between regions on the occasion of the holidays.
In Rhineland-Palatinate, the outdoor gastronomy opens this Monday with a plan that includes tests and traces , in addition to the usual measures of distancing, hygiene and use of a mask, so that people can make excursions to this land and visit a terrace “instead of traveling to Mallorca,” according to his head of government, Malu Dreyer.
German restaurants and hotels had once again asked the Government this week for a clear reopening plan that would give a perspective to the sector, one of the most affected by the pandemic, with a 39% drop in turnover in 2020, according to data from the Federal Statistical Office ( Destatis ).
The Robert Koch Institute of Virology urges not to travel in or out of the country
For its part, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) of virology urged not to travel inside or outside the country on Easter in order not to further accelerate the third wave of the pandemic. On Friday of last week the RKI updated its list of risk areas for COVID and among the regions that stopped appearing in it are six Spanish autonomous communities (Balearic Islands, Valencia, Castilla-La Mancha, Extremadura, La Rioja and Murcia) .
As a consequence, the demand for flights to the Balearic Islands skyrocketed and the main tourist companies and airlines began to expand their travel offer. This in turn forced the German Government to reiterate that “the absence of a travel alert is not an invitation to travel” and to call on the population to do without unnecessary travel.
The Vice Chancellor and Finance Minister, Olaf Scholz, has reiterated in statements to Bild the need to avoid a “great wave of trips” for Easter , something that Germany simply cannot allow in the current epidemiological situation and that would also endanger the summer of all.
However, it has been in favor of allowing travel within the country to second homes and family visits, for which rapid antigen tests can be helpful. The latter “we already made it possible at Christmas and at Easter it should be possible.”