Why the north is taking a special route with the corona rules

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Daniel Günther (CDU), Schleswig-Holstein’s Prime Minister, sits in the Kiel State Chancellery during the deliberations between the German Prime Minister and Chancellor Merkel in a video conference.
Image: dpa

Schleswig-Holstein and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania do not participate in all of the new Corona resolutions. In one point, Kiel is even taking a special route nationwide. How does Prime Minister Günther justify the decision?

Daniel Günther, the Prime Minister of Schleswig-Holstein, had already made it clear with the Federal Chancellor before the Prime Minister’s Conference that his country would not go along with everything. So it happened. And when the CDU politician appeared in front of the press in Kiel late on Wednesday evening, he reported on the “special Schleswig-Holstein path” that he has taken. From Monday onwards, the corona measures in the northwest will be relaxed, at least a little. Body-close service companies such as nail salons and massage practices are allowed to reopen, as are zoos and animal parks.

Matthias Wyssuwa

Political correspondent for Northern Germany and Scandinavia based in Hamburg.

Zoos and animal parks are also open in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, and like Schwerin, Kiel has also decided not to go along with the further restrictions on retailers with a view to the sales area per customer. But Schleswig-Holstein is completely alone when it comes to another measure.

While all other states tighten the contact restrictions and only five people from two households are allowed to meet, whereby children under the age of 14 are not counted and there can be a maximum of ten people over the Christmas period, Schleswig-Holstein remains with the well-known rule in the state: Up to ten people can meet, in a public setting from up to two households, in private there is no limit. It will be the same at Christmas time. Günther said that what is usual practice in the country will also be observed over the holidays.

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For Günther, this Schleswig-Holstein path is already a success, after all, it was not long ago that he decided at another Prime Minister’s Conference that he would not go along with certain tightening – only to explain shortly afterwards why things turned out differently. That was in October and it was about the closing of the restaurants. The coalition partner of the FDP was not very enthusiastic, and Günther spoke of a difficult decision.

In terms of uniformity, he liked it – and in the knowledge that it would be of little use if the restaurants in Hamburg close and those in the Schleswig-Holstein bacon belt might burst at the seams. On Thursday the FDP thanked the Prime Minister for having enforced the “regional differentiation”. Restaurants and hotels, however, remain closed in Schleswig-Holstein, so Günther raised no hopes.

One reason for the urge for this regional differentiation is the low number of infections. Günther referred to this again and again on Wednesday evening. Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Schleswig-Holstein are the only federal states that are still below the incidence value of 50. In the northwest the value is 47.9, in the northeast 44.2 – the German average is 137.8. It is not clear why the values ​​are so low.

The fact that both are sparsely populated land areas certainly helps. Or maybe, as an expert suspected at a hearing in the Kiel state parliament on the corona crisis, the country was just lucky. In any case, despite the slight openings, Günther usually presented himself as a supporter of a strict line in the fight against the virus, similar to Prime Minister Manuela Schwesig (SPD) in Schwerin. He relies on uniform measures that only need to be taken when certain incidence values ​​are reached.



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