When the spring sun comes out, it’s Bavarian custom to head to the nearest beer garden for a foaming stein under the trees. That tradition has been hampered in recent weeks. But now Germany’s biggest state is gradually lifting lockdown measures – and in less than two weeks, its world-renowned biergartens will be allowed to reopen for business.
Markus Söder, the state’s governor, has announced that beer gardens and outdoor restaurants can reopen from May 18. Indoor restaurants will be allowed to reopen a week later, though customer numbers will be limited and they must close at 10pm. And from May 30, hotels will be able to welcome travellers again. Söder told a press conference: ‘The time has come for a cautious reopening.’
Bavaria, whose capital is Munich, was the first state to implement a lockdown and its restrictions were among Germany’s strictest. Hubert Aiwanger, the state’s economics minister, has called the reopening of the food and drink industry a ‘big step towards normality’. He is appealing for authorities to temporarily hand over more outdoor space to restaurants whose indoor capacity has been drastically cut by distancing measures.
Last month it was announced that Munich’s annual Oktoberfest celebrations would be cancelled this year. But once the beer gardens are up and running again, we’ve no doubt more than enough steins will be consumed to make up for it.
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