Coronavirus: Bavarian beer gardens to reopen as lockdown measures eased in Germany

Germans could be sipping their steins in the spring sunshine in less than two weeks as the country’s lockdown measures are eased.

Markus Soeder, governor of the southeastern state of Bavaria, has said beer gardens will reopen on 18 May.

Restaurants will open a week later, albeit with limited numbers of customers, limited opening times – having to close at 10pm – and strict hygiene rules.

On 30 May, hotels will be able to welcome tourists, but won’t be able to open saunas or swimming pools.

In a more immediate lifting of coronavirus lockdown measures, families in Bavaria will be able to visit elderly relatives in care homes again from Wednesday.

Mr Soeder is among the first state governors to announce concrete plans to further reopen the economy.

Bavaria – which is Germany’s second-most populous state and contains the city of Munich – had the highest per capita coronavirus infection rate in the country.

It was the first state to implement a lockdown, with Mr Soeder announcing the COVID-19 restrictions on 20 March.

Lower Saxony and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania have also set out plans to lift lockdown measures later this month.

The BDI, an umbrella group representing German industry, recently warned the country’s future as a major manufacturer could be endangered if lockdown continued.

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