Are bread baskets hygienic in restaurants

Restart with distance and hygiene

On May 6, Chancellor Merkel confirmed what had happened the days before Federal states had already announced: The gastronomy and hotel industry in Germany will reopen. The federal government has passed the entire responsibility to the federal states, opening will therefore take place at different speeds in the federal states, like Bavaria's Prime Minister Markus Söder it was formulated in the joint press conference. "The line ministers decide," says Söder literally. Hamburg's first mayor Peter Tschentscher added: "There must not be another increase (in infections, note), that is a great responsibility for the countries."

And the specialist ministers of all federal states have decided. Some have a rough one before that Timetable outlined, the rest then made their plans public. Each of the 16 federal states has now announced a restart date for the catering industry. Some earlier - Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania will open the hospitality industry to locals on May 9th. Others later, such as Saxony-Anhalt, where the restaurants are only allowed to reopen from May 22nd. Bavaria, on the other hand, is also proceeding step-by-step when it comes to opening the restaurants: First, the outdoor areas, i.e. the beer gardens, are allowed to open from May 18th, the indoor areas will follow from May 25th. And Hamburg has not yet communicated a specific date - here the measures will not be decided until May 12th, but the catering trade is promised an opening from mid-May.

Distance and hygiene

The general requirements are that a distance of 1.5 meters must be maintained between the tables, both indoors and outdoors. In addition, the service staff must ensure that the hygiene regulations are adhered to.

A look at the federal states shows that Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania is also pointing the way here and has already drawn up specific rules:

  • Tables must be reserved in advance.
  • A maximum of six people can sit at one table.
  • Contact details of the main person must be left in order to be able to ensure that the chain of infection can be tracked if necessary.
  • Guests must sit, the minimum distance of 1.5 meters between strangers and the service staff must be observed.
  • Mouth and nose protection is mandatory for the service staff, guests do not have to wear masks at the table.
  • Increased hygiene measures and regular ventilation in all areas. For example, you have to wash or disinfect your hands after clearing tables.
  • No items for common use on the table (cruet sets, bread basket)

A reservation and documentation obligation for the guest movement will most likely come in most federal states. The DEHOGA Federal Association supports the companies with checklists and best practice examples on distance requirements and significantly increased hygiene standards, as stated in a press release from the German Hotel and Restaurant Association. "The health of guests and employees has top priority," DEHOGA President Guido Zöllick is quoted as saying.

A look at the neighbors

Austria and Switzerland are also reopening their restaurants. Both countries declared their lockdown almost at the same time and closed all catering establishments. When it reopened, Switzerland was a little ahead of the curve: restaurateurs across Switzerland were allowed to reopen on May 11th, Austria will follow on May 15th. In both countries, as in Germany, hygiene and distance rules must be observed.

The three neighboring countries differ primarily in the distance rules. While Austria stipulates a minimum distance of one meter between groups of guests, the Swiss Federal Council requires a strict two meters. If this is not possible, a separating element must be used between the tables. Since the prescribed distance rules lead to economic losses for many restaurant operators, the City of Zurich has decided to accommodate these businesses: Restaurants in Zurich are therefore allowed to expand their outdoor area to public land free of charge, provided that this area is in front of the restaurant or the owners of adjacent properties Agree to use.

Reactions in German gastronomy

The restaurateurs did not breathe a big sigh of relief, even if relief spreads, one has now at least a date to orientate oneself. But the requirements weigh heavily and pose challenges, as Düsseldorf restaurateur Kerstin Rapp-Schwan tries to illustrate in a video.

Others, like the "Nobelhart & Schmutzig" run by host Billy Wagner, are happy to be able to open again for their guests despite everything. On the website, the restaurant explains what the future looks like: "The Holy Trinity of the Corona period is also coming to› Nobelhart & Schmutzig ‹." Means: The team wears tailor-made face masks made of cotton linen fabric, which are also offered for sale, everything from the door handle to the hands to the pen for signing is regularly disinfected and the distance of 1.5 meters is maintained anyway. The established delivery company will continue to run for the time being and the production of home-made products will not be discontinued yet. Groceries, small dishes or wine can be taken home after a visit to the restaurant.

Further reactions from the catering industry: