This demand is the result of an online conference between East Frisian district administrators, representatives of the Lower Saxony Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IHK) and the German Hotel and Restaurant Association (Dehoga), as reported by NDR 1 Lower Saxony. Just opening the islands alone would be unfair, said Aurich’s district administrator Olaf Meinen (non-party). His colleague Sven Ambrosy (SPD) from the district of Friesland suggests using a test strategy similar to that for senior citizens’ and nursing homes. Ferry operators could test and check at the drop-off points. On the mainland, vacationers have to show the landlords negative smears. The district administrators now want to talk to the state government.
Are saliva tests the method of choice?
The idea of at least opening up the islands was brought into play by Dehoga state vice-president Birgit Kolb-Binder. Saliva tests could be used, which should be available to everyone from March. “We have to talk about logistical and legal problems,” said Kolb-Binder, who herself runs several hotels on Langeoog. Heiger Scholz, head of the Lower Saxony Corona crisis team, had called it an “interesting idea”.
Because: Too early to commit
Stephan Weil (SPD) was cautious about the issue last week. “As much as I would like to give orientation to those interested in a trip and to the accommodation trade – unfortunately, definitive statements are not yet possible,” said Lower Saxony’s Prime Minister. He thinks it is premature to decide on the subject of Easter leave. It is not yet clear how quickly and how intensely the virus mutations will spread.
Difficult situation for island businesses
The Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IHK) Ostfriesland points out in this discussion that the Easter holiday is vital for the companies. Time is of the essence because the islanders will have to recruit seasonal workers from abroad over the next 14 days. If the companies do not open soon, around half of them are threatened with extinction, warns the IHK. This also applies to the companies on the mainland. And there, an opening concept based on negative corona tests is more difficult to implement. You can’t put a fence around the places, says Jens Lutz. He is chairman of the Dehoga Harz. In addition, it is unclear how many vacationers actually come. And, asks Lutz: what if the number of infections suddenly shot up again?
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