No classes at schools, closed kindergartens, a severely restricted right to visit hospitals and care facilities: Bavaria is tightening the measures against the spread of coronavirus. The local elections however, should take place as planned.
Bavaria is one of the first federal states in Germany to close all schools from Monday, March 16th 2020. This should help to slow the spread of the new corona virus, as Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) said in Munich. Childcare facilities would also initially be closed until the end of the Easter holidays on April 19.
After that, it will be necessary to take stock of the developing situation. According to virologists, these five weeks could be crucial to slow the spread of the coronvirus. Bavaria's Minister of Culture Michael Piazolo emphasized that the closure affects all schools - "across all types of school, including private schools, including vocational schools". There are no classes at school, but they are not holidays. The minister announced that the children would be provided with materials so that they could "have something to do at home".
Care is only guaranteed for children from the first to sixth grade whose parents work in so-called system-critical professions. Piazolo cited doctors, nurses and police officers as examples. Bavaria would handle this restrictively. If only one parent belongs to one of these occupational groups, the other must ensure childcare.
According to Social Affairs Minister Carolina Trautner (also CSU), restricted entry into the approximately 9,800 daycare centers will also apply from Monday. This also applies to day care for children and day care centers. There will be emergency groups in kindergartens - but also only for children where both parents work in health professions, the police or the THW. Söder emphasized that there was a clear recommendation "not to organize the care for grandmothers and grandpas, but to do it differently".
To ensure childcare, Trautner appealed to employers to accommodate their employees. Working hours should be flexible. Where possible, work should be done in the home office. If this is not possible, vacation should first be considered.
Visiting rights in clinics are restricted
The Prime Minister also announced that the right to visit hospitals, care facilities, retirement homes and facilities for the disabled will be severely restricted. It is important to protect the elderly and sick people who are particularly at risk if they are infected with the corona virus.
If possible, no events with more than 100 guests
After the Free State had already banned events with more than 1,000 visitors on Tuesday, Söder has now called for a ban on significantly smaller events. "Everything that is over 100 shouldn't actually take place," emphasized the CSU politician.
No restaurant closings
At the same time, the Prime Minister made it clear that, unlike in some European countries, Bavaria does not close any cafes, restaurants or clubs due to the corona virus.
Local elections are held
Bavarian local elections on Sunday take place regardless of the spread of the corona virus. Söder announced, however, that postal voting will be made much easier for the run-off elections in two weeks. Postal voting documents should therefore be sent automatically from Monday onwards. About ten million people are eligible for local elections in the Free State on Sunday.