After several other federal states, Saxony, which has been badly affected by the pandemic, has now decided to allow private hotel overnight stays at Christmas. In the Chancellery, the state resolutions cause head shaking.
The federal government has criticized the decision of several federal states to allow hotel stays for family visits during the Christmas season. “Citizens are called upon to avoid tourist trips,” said government spokesman Steffen Seibert. Travel for family reasons is difficult to distinguish from this. Seibert referred to the decision of the Bund-Länder top round last Wednesday – a “private use” of hotels was not included in the decision.
The federal states are responsible for implementing the resolutions in the catering and hotel sectors. Several prime ministers had announced that they would allow hotel stays for family visits in large cities over Christmas. After North Rhine-Westphalia, Lower Saxony, Hesse, Schleswig-Holstein, Berlin and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Saxony also recently made a corresponding decision – even though Saxony currently has the highest rate of new corona infections nationwide. Five of the ten most affected districts are in the eastern German state.
Merkel does not consider country resolutions to be controllable
In a virtual meeting of the CDU Presidium, Chancellor Angela Merkel criticized the hotel opening plans of particularly badly affected federal states, as reported by the dpa news agency, citing several participants in the meeting. Merkel admitted to the decision of the federal and state governments to relax the strict contact restrictions over the festive period. At the same time, however, she was quoted as saying that she lacked the imagination to suspect that particularly affected countries wanted to open the hotels.
According to the dpa, Merkel justified her criticism that it was not controllable whether only guests stayed in the hotels who actually visited relatives in the region. Accordingly, the Chancellor referred to such regulations in large cities like Berlin. It cannot be explained that the nurses at the Berlin Charité also have to work through Christmas. She expressly did not speak of Schleswig-Holstein or Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania in this context. Falling incidence values can be seen in some territorial states.
A “typically German” debate?
The North Rhine-Westphalian Minister of Health, Karl-Josef Laumann, showed no understanding for the reaction of the federal government. “The debate does not open up to me at all,” said the CDU politician. “A family visit is not tourism.” It does not meet his idea of justice if only owners of a single-family house with enough space could receive visitors over the holidays. For him, the discussion is not of great importance, but “typically German”, said Laumann.
On Wednesday, Merkel and the prime ministers meet for their regular December meeting. According to government spokesman Seibert, it should also be about fighting the pandemic – but no “new decisions on the matter” are to be expected.