ROTHENBURG OB DER TAUBER, Germany (Reuters) – Germany’s tightening lockdown has eliminated one residue of seasonal frivolity: “Gluehwein” or processed wine, a Christmas market staple usually served in steaming mugs on chilly days on the square -alun cities across the country.
A ban on outdoor alcohol, starting mid-week, was announced on Sunday among measures to curb a second wave of the coronavirus.
Offenders will be fined.
While Germany’s famous Christmas market has been largely banned this year, many people can still get their hands on their Gluehwein, dropping masks to soak up in temporary open booths instead.
In the medieval town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber, for example, Gluehwein has recently become one of the few offerings sold around Market Square and its snow-covered wood-framed buildings. However, pedestrians are scarce while signs demanding masks are scattered on the centuries-old walls.
Some cities have restricted outdoor drinking, and reactions are growing. On Wednesday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel told parliament that the wine booth under consideration was incompatible with the COVID-19 measures.
“There is no social distancing or wearing masks while drinking Gluehwein,” said Thomas Boehle, an official in Munich.
Christoph Becker, head of the hospitality sector group in Cologne, has filed a lawsuit to appeal the ban.
“Just because some drivers don’t follow the speed limit doesn’t mean driving is prohibited,” he said.
Reporting by Tom Sims; Edited by Andrew Cawthorne
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