SZ: What goes through your head when you see the German vacationers floating away to Mallorca?
Guido Zöllick: Of course that frustrates us as German hoteliers and restaurant operators: that our potential guests are elsewhere on the beach and in the hotel. And that although we have similarly low incidences in some regions of Germany, including in Warnemünde, where my own hotel is located, as in Mallorca. There is a lot of misunderstanding in the industry, which is why there are two different standards. That makes us angry.
After all, everyone has to be tested before flying to Mallorca. Does this also include your opening concept in Germany?
That doesn’t play a role in the current hygiene concepts, but we have also been closed since November. I could imagine that, especially for guests from regions with very high incidences. A negative test would be a good way to make vacation possible and still contain the virus.
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The number of infections is rising again across the country. Wouldn’t that be an additional boost if hotels and restaurants were opened up?
You can also see it differently: Despite the closure of hotels and restaurants since November, the numbers are increasing. We are not the problem. Rather, with our tried and tested hygiene concepts, we can be part of the solution. According to the RKI, staying in a hotel is not a pandemic driver; hotels are considered a “low-risk setting”. You also have to see that many infections take place in private and there are contradicting regulations. You can meet privately with two households and five people at certain incidences. In outdoor catering, however, the same five people would have to show a negative test, despite all the hygiene rules that we guarantee. That is disproportionate.
So what does your restart concept for the industry look like?
First of all, the federal government must make faster progress with vaccination and, above all, make enough tests available. In addition to the hygiene measures that we already have, we can check at a distance, room fans and disinfection, where quick or self-tests make sense: for example at events or seminars or when checking in hotel guests. This is not practical in a busy restaurant.
What is your hope for the Prime Minister’s Conference today?
That we are shown a perspective and that we as an industry will not be completely ignored again, as was the case at the last conference. We finally need clear rules of the game under which conditions we are allowed to open. Second: as long as we remain compulsorily closed, we have to be compensated 100 percent. So far this has not been the case. The longer that takes, the more hotels and restaurants will no longer open. In surveys of our members, 25 percent said they were seriously considering giving up operations.
What could the perspective look like?
So far there have already been criteria according to which outdoor restaurants, for example, are allowed to open. We also need something like this for the inside and for the hotels. However, the incidence value must not be the only criterion. It must also be taken into account who is infected which age groups, how severe the diseases in this group are and how busy the health system is. The Chancellor has emphasized this several times. The elderly, who are most severely affected, will hopefully soon be vaccinated for the most part. We have to develop with the pandemic, too little has happened so far.
Will there be an Easter holiday in a hotel in Germany?
I don’t know, but of course I agree. There are regions in the mountains and by the sea where this would be just as possible due to the infection situation as it is on Mallorca. And our security concepts are at least as good as those in Spain.