Bavaria announces drastic new measures to fight coronavirus

Bavaria announces drastic new measures to fight coronavirus

The southern German state of Bavaria has declared a “disaster” situation, introducing a number of restrictions on public life in an attempt to slow down the spread of coronavirus

Bavaria declares “disaster situation”

On Monday, March 16, Bavaria’s Minister President Markus Söder announced that the southern state - which has now confirmed 886 cases of coronavirus and four deaths - had declared a disaster situation (Katastrophenfall), allowing state authorities to push through new restrictions. 

Admitting that the new restrictions on public life were “drastic”, Söder maintained that it was necessary to limit social contact as much as possible to halt the spread of the virus. “The challenge is growing every day,” he said. “So we have to react consistently but appropriately.”

Here is an overview of the new restrictions that have been imposed. 

No curfew

Unlike in other countries, Bavaria has initially decided not to introduce a curfew. “This is currently not planned,” said Söder. Nonetheless he urged everyone to only leave home when strictly necessary. Events of any size are no longer allowed, except for small gatherings (between family members, for example) at home.

Daycare centres, schools and universities closed

As of Monday, March 16, daycare centres, primary and secondary schools and universities in Bavaria - as in the rest of Germany - are closed until the beginning of the school holidays on April 6, meaning that they will effectively remain closed until April 20. 

The state government has put in place an emergency plan for the care of certain children whose parents work in critical professions like nursing or the emergency services

Recreational facilities closed

From Tuesday, March 17, all “recreational facilities” in Bavaria will also be forced to close until April 19. This includes: 

  • Sauna and bathing facilities, thermal baths, wellness studios
  • Sports halls, gyms, dance studios
  • Sports grounds and playgrounds
  • Cinemas, theatres, amusement arcades
  • Bars, clubs
  • Libraries, museums, city tours
  • Zoos and amusement parks
  • Conference and event rooms 
  • Further education and training facilities, adult education centres
  • Music schools
  • Youth centres
  • Brothels

Art Minister Bernd Sibler assured customers that money for tickets would be refunded. 

Shop closures & extended supermarket hours

All retail shops will also be forced to close from Wednesday onwards. The only exceptions to this are:

  • Grocery & beverage markets
  • Banks
  • Pharmacies
  • Drugstores
  • DIY and garden centres
  • Medical supply stores
  • Opticians
  • Hearing aid specialists
  • Post offices
  • Pet stores
  • Petrol stations
  • Dry cleaners
  • Online shops

In order to ensure the basic supply of food and other important products, these stores will also be allowed to open for longer than usual - until 10 pm on weekdays and - unusually for Germany - even on Sundays, between the hours of 12 and 6pm. 

Limited service at restaurants

Restaurants and company canteens will be allowed to remain open, but only within restricted hours. From Wednesday, March 17, premises will only be allowed to serve between the hours of 6 am and 3 pm. All guests will have to be seated at least 1,5 metres apart, and no more than 30 people may be in one venue at the same time. 

After 3 pm, only takeaway food can be served, either via a delivery service or drive-in. 

Investment in healthcare

Bavarian authorities will also offer more support to the healthcare system, to ensure there are enough supplies and equipment. Coronavirus testing capacities will be significantly expanded, but only those who are displaying symptoms of coronavirus will be tested.

Hospitals will also be geared towards treating coronavirus patients, with pandemic plans being drawn up and extra staff being drafted in from elsewhere - student doctors, for instance, as well as doctors who have entered retirement or are on parental leave

Aid package for businesses in Bavaria

To protect the state’s economy from the consequences of the coronavirus outbreak, Bavaria is making available an aid package of 10 billion euros, which is available to local businesses in the form of grants or state investment. Söder has said that “no one will be left alone.” 



Abi Carter

Managing Editor at IamExpat Media. Abi studied German and History at the University of Manchester and has since lived in Berlin, Hamburg and Utrecht, working since 2017 as a writer,...

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