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A view of Frankfurt's Christmas market

Many Christmas markets in Germany open today, despite high Covid rates

Many Christmas markets in Germany open today, despite high Covid rates

According to the authorities, the infection numbers are too low in some areas to justify restrictions

The first Christmas markets in numerous cities of Germany opened today, despite the recent meteoric rise of COVID-19 infections in the country. Although some experts criticized the move and despite local authorities’ decision to close the market in Munich, some cities' authorities have opted for increased health measures and security that they are confident would ensure visitors’ safety.

A cautious night out

Christmas markets in Germany have been a staple of the run-up to the holiday for a long time now and they play an important role for both domestic and foreign tourists as well as for craftsmen looking for an outlet for their wares.

Usually, the country is host to around 2,500 markets that draw 160 million visitors and generate 4 to 6 billion euros every year. Last year, due to the pandemic, most markets were cancelled, so a lot of people had their hopes up for this year.

Although some markets have closed, many cities have decided to push for a communal holiday spirit and carry on the tradition. Some mayors explained that a vaccinated or recovered status of the visitors should be enough.

Low incidence rates and common measures

Berlin will host three markets opening today – near the Keiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, Rotes Rathaus, the Spandau Citadel and Gendarmenmarkt.

Visitors will have to wear a mask and present proof of vaccination or recovered status at the entrances. Several markets were cancelled in the city though, as health requirements mandate a reduced number of stalls, less visitors and a security detail, ultimately resulting in an unprofitable situation for the merchants.

In Potsdam, only the vaccinated and those who have recovered from the disease will be allowed in the Christmas markets. Furthermore, local authorities have issued a capacity restriction of one person per 4 square metres.

In the city of Bremen, coronavirus measures are more relaxed, as unvaccinated people with a valid PCR test will have the opportunity to visit the Christmas markets. This is mainly because the incidence rate is low enough to justify such a step. On the other hand, in the state of Saxony-Anhalt, most markets will have no restrictions in place whatsoever.

Local authorities, however, explain that if infections start to climb, new measures will be introduced. 

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