Forget shopping in Germany – Bavaria off limits to those coming from Czech Republic

Starting Wednesday, the German government is tightening COVID-19 measures regarding cross-border traffic.

Samantha Tatro

Written by Samantha Tatro Published on 08.12.2020 16:32:00 (updated on 08.12.2020) Reading time: 1 minute

Czech residents will no longer be able to cross the border to go shopping starting Wednesday, the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs tweeted on Monday.

For many weeks this fall, Czechs were able to cross the border into Germany's Bavaria with a negative COVID-19 test.

Even when that was abolished in November and Czechs had to quarantine, there has always been an exception for Czech residents in transit, international transport, family matters and small border traffic like shopping trips.

Starting Wednesday, Bavaria plans to declare a State of Emergency and tighten anti-coronavirus measures until Jan. 9 as the pandemic worsens in the region. Many hospitals in the region remain overcrowded and current restrictions seem not to help, Prime Minister of the German federal state Markus Söder said this week.

This means that Czech residents can no longer cross the border without quarantining, and officials have taken away the exemption for cross-border shopping. A quarantine is required for 10 days when entering the country; after five days, if you test negative for COVID-19, you can leave quarantine.

Even amid strict restrictions in the region in recent weeks, where German residents don't have the freedom to go out except for essential trips, Czechs have been heading to Bavaria to shop.

"While Saxons can only walk within 15 kilometers of their home, shopping tourists from the Czech Republic travel unchecked across borders," writes the German publication Bild, citing restrictions on movement in districts with more than 200 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants in seven days. Those regions include Dresden, a popular shopping spot for Czechs.

The Federal Police Directorate in Pirna, Saxony have said that they carry out frequent random checks at the border, but there are no imposed fines if a violation or breach of quarantine is discovered.

"The imposition of a fine is a matter for the provincial authorities, i.e. hygiene," said the federal police, which is in charge of border control in Germany.

Commuters and family members can still cross the border into Germany, officials said.

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