The federal government is considering closing the catering trade. There is resistance to this – not only from those affected.

Move chairs.  Is a new lockdown looming?

When Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) and the Prime Ministers of the federal states connect again for a video conference this Wednesday from 1 p.m., one industry is likely to be particularly excited for the results: gastronomy. As previously announced, the closure of restaurants and bars is to be discussed. Further restrictions on events are also planned. There is talk of a “lockdown light”.

These mind games alone made waves on Tuesday. Federal Minister of Economics Peter Altmaier (CDU) postponed the announcement of the growth forecast planned for Wednesday to Friday. For scheduling reasons, it was said. But it is also clear that the resolutions of the federal-state meeting will influence the outlook. Altmaier actually wanted to raise the forecast for this year a little – provided that whole branches of the economy are not closed again as in the spring. That is exactly what is now becoming increasingly likely.

The industries affected immediately gave air to their displeasure. “The hospitality industry is not a pandemic driver,” said Guido Zöllick, President of the German Hotel and Restaurant Association (Dehoga). If his industry is faced with “a special burden”, the politically responsible would have to “pay for the damage quickly and in full”. The tourism companies are also demanding industry-specific compensation. The fact that the retail trade should not be closed according to the plans hardly caused any relief in its association HDE. “The more restaurants and pubs around the retail sector have to close, the more difficult the situation becomes for retailers,” said Managing Director Stefan Genth. The event industry wants to demonstrate in Berlin today, Wednesday.

Carsten Linnemann (CDU)
Carsten Linnemann (CDU): Image: dpa

Resistance is also coming from within the economic wing of the Union. “I consider a blanket ban for the catering and event industry to be excessive,” said Carsten Linnemann, the deputy parliamentary group leader and head of the SME Union, of the FAZ. “After all, we now know that most infections occur in the private sector.”

Legally uncertain territory

From a legal point of view, the Chancellor and Prime Minister are also moving on uncertain territory. In the past few weeks they have had their painful experiences with the ban on accommodation, which was overturned by the courts in several federal states. In Berlin, several bar owners have also successfully defended themselves against the decreed curfew from 11 p.m. There are many indications that the courts are now judging more strictly than in the spring. At that time, the judges granted the state governments a lot of leeway in their ordinances because little was known about the ways in which the new pandemic could spread.