In Ruhpolding in Chiemgau, what happened at the weekend that so many are warning of: On the toboggan run on the Unternberg, which is actually closed, two men injured themselves so badly while sledding on Sunday that they had to be taken to the hospital. As if the clinics had nothing else to do in the corona pandemic, is the accusation that is currently always associated with something like this.
The -parking lots at Ruhpolding were “jam-packed” at the weekend, the mountain rescue service said, as it was reported from Sudelfeld, Spitzingsee, Garmisch, the Allgäu and now also from the Rhön and the Bavarian Forest. But while the debate about day tourism that flared up in the spring lockdown is becoming more and more heated, the police and mountain rescue services are more relaxed.
As far as emergencies are concerned, “everything is in the green”, says Florian Notter from the mountain rescue region Hochland, which extends from the Kampenwand to the Ammergau Alps. There was another rush of visitors, but “we’re not racing,” says Notter. Here and there a ski tourer or toboggan runner needs to be looked after, but the numbers of operations that are common in alpine skiing in normal winters are a long way off.
The -mountain rescue teams have now protected themselves against infections like the normal rescue service with FFP2 masks that they put on themselves and the patient.
Those who are really seriously injured in the mountains often end up in the Murnau Accident Clinic, where – apart from the pandemic – it was last almost normal. On New Year’s Eve and New Year’s there were a little fewer emergencies than a year before, and on the days after that one hardly noticed a difference, according to Murnau. But this also means that the closure of the ski areas did not bring any relief for the clinic.
According to her own statements, she recently recorded very few skiing accidents, but “a disproportionately high number of sled and sled injuries, often with broken arms and lower legs in children and spinal injuries in adults”.
The -head of the emergency room at the Miesbach district hospital in Agatharied, Steffen Herdtle, reports something similar. In total, there are just as many accidents as usual, and one is also prepared for tobogganing, but in the pandemic one has to do a lot more effort with the patients anyway.
According to the Rosenheim Presidium, Upper Bavaria South, the police must deal primarily with park violations in the excursion areas. In the Miesbach district alone, around 500 warnings were issued over the weekend. Beyond such parking tickets due to unauthorized parking in no-stopping zones or on escape routes, the police see little need for action for themselves. Traffic jams at Tegernsee, slow traffic near Bad Tölz, block processing at the Farchant tunnel – all of this already existed on suitable days before Corona, says a police spokesman. All violations are investigated, but the occasional unbearable parking lot situation is “more of a municipal issue”. Excursions are allowed, and as long as there is no legal basis, the often demanded “blocking off roads or something like that is completely unthinkable for us”.
According to their own statements, the police have not observed that the ski slopes, which are often populated by hundreds of people despite the lifts being closed, have violated the Corona rules. Of course one is “usually simply not present” there. Anyone who is already there can certainly report a crowd at the summit or socializing around the parking lot – to the anger of some locals who actually or supposedly stick to all the rules and now fear that day tourists will bring the virus. And because of the lack of open huts, inns and shops, the otherwise sought-after day trippers don’t leave any money.
In view of the calls for help from the excursion areas, the state government has so far left it with appeals to keep your distance and not necessarily seek relaxation in the overcrowded places. Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann said a few days ago that there is “the right to enjoy nature freely.” No further restrictions are planned. On Monday it was said from Herrmann’s ministry that with a view to future measures, the deliberations of the Prime Minister with the Chancellor had to be awaited. Special regulations for Bavaria seemed “not yet necessary”.
Meanwhile, complaints from other regions are getting louder. District Administrator Sebastian Gruber describes the location at some tourist hotspots in the Freyung-Grafenau district as by no means uncritical. Especially on the Lusen and Dreisesselberg in the Bavarian Forest, day trippers wanted to enjoy the snow. Visitors parked wildly in the villages.
The -burden for many residents is great, and Gruber warns that the capacities of the rescue workers are limited and that the situation in the clinics is very serious. “ Everyone should really think about what is sensible now, even if it is allowed,” he says.
In the Bavarian Forest National Park, people had recently left the paths again and again, trudging across the fields through the retreats of species susceptible to disturbance such as the capercaillie. “ That hurts us particularly,” says National Park Director Franz Leibl.
The -visitors also come in droves in the Allgäu, reports Simone Zehnpfennig, spokeswoman for the Allgäu tourism association. Because the parking spaces for the lifts are closed, there is traffic chaos. At the Hopfensee the district office had to issue a mask again. Because of the crowd, the distances could no longer be maintained. There was even a lot going on in the otherwise quiet Rhön. Snow-covered slopes and cross-country trails attracted many people to the low mountain range.
The -parking lots at Kreuzberg and Arnsberg were overcrowded, says the mayor of Bischofsheim, Georg Seiffert. From an infection protection point of view, one would have “observed that things were decent in the winter sports areas”. Nevertheless, one should currently “reconsider the usefulness of such excursions.”