MUNICH (AP) — Bavarians were able to enjoy a tall beer in the spring sun Monday in several areas, as some outdoor beer gardens reopened in the southern German state.
Bavaria had an overall seven-day average rate of increase of 119.5 new cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 people, but areas below 100 cases per 100,000 were allowed to reopen their iconic beer gardens.
In places like Inning, on the western outskirts of Munich, people were again drinking beer lakeside on the Ammersee and gazing at the picturesque Alps in the distance.
Beer gardens in Munich are not yet open, but preparations were being made for them to again start serving customers on Wednesday.
Overall, Germany has reported 3.5 million cases of COVID-19 with nearly 85,000 deaths.
Under the new guidelines in Bavaria, it takes about a week for a region to be able to reopen outdoor dining and drinking areas. More than a dozen areas have already gotten the go-ahead.
Yet even when allowed to reopen, patrons must obey strict mask-wearing and social distancing regulations.
The improvement in Germany's virus situation came too late for Bavaria's beloved Oktoberfest celebrations this year. The festivities were canceled for a second year in a row due to concerns over the spread of COVID-19 during a global pandemic. Oktoberfest typically attracts about 6 million visitors from around the world.
Underlining the fact that the pandemic is far from over in Germany, the country’s top security official, Interior Ministry Horst Seehofer, has tested positive for COVID-19, his office said Monday.
Seehofer’s spokesman, Steve Alter, told the dpa news agency that the popular Bavarian politician was in quarantine at home and is exhibiting no symptoms.
The 71-year-old minister had previously told reporters he received his first shot of the coronavirus vaccine on April 14, the Pfizer-BioNTech shot.