Beautiful bored people of Munich, as we’re sure you’ve heard by now, the gastronomy industry in Munich is slowly making a comeback, starting with the re-opening of outdoor dining areas like beer gardens today!
That said, the rules about this have been a bit murky… especially with all the jargon-y German involved.
So, if you’ve been wondering about crucial questions like “Where am I allowed to go?” “Who can I go with?” and “Will they judge me for ordering 8 people’s worth of Obatzda?”, then you’ve come to the right place.
Below you’ll find a recap in English of the most important rules to be mindful of, although in regards to that last question, just remember there’s never such thing as too much Obatzda.
General Outdoor Dining Rules in Bavaria (Summary)
The framework released by the Bavarian State Government includes rules for both the industry side (i.e. the businesses themselves) and also general rules for customers and staff. We will cover the most important points below that are relevant for visitors.
Now, here is what you need to know:
1. From May 18 onwards, outdoor dining (i.e. beer gardens) may be open until 8pm
The exact opening times are up to individual establishments, but from May 18 onwards, businesses will be allowed to open for outdoor dining until 8pm.
2. Up to two households may sit together without the 1.5m distance, as well as family members
As confirmed by the Bavarian Minister for Federal and European Affairs and Media, Florian Herrmann (CSU), those who do NOT need to keep a 1.5m distance between them include:
- Members of the same household
- Immediate family members
- Up two households sitting together
3. Friends may visit beer gardens together, but they must keep a 1.5m distance
This is where things get a bit murky. As Bavaria’s Minister of Economy, Hubert Aiwanger infamously and confusingly explained last week when asked whether 6-8 friends may visit the beer garden together:
“If six to eight people, each with their buddy, comes, of course, they can sit down with their buddy who is their caregiver, and with 1.5m distance, the next friend sits with his buddy at a distance. But they can’t sit six times two at one table because not even the first six are allowed to sit at one table. So I can only sit at the table with one person or family. And you have to keep a distance of 1.5m” – Hubert Aiwanger (source)
Odds are the exact details will be ironed out and explained more clearly once beer gardens open today, but the general interpretation of this has been that they can’t limit the amount of friends you go to a beer garden with, but the maximum you can have at one table is a cap of two households/family. Otherwise, friends must sit (again, in pods of max two households) at least 1.5m apart.
4. All guests must wear nose/mouth coverage apart from when sat at the table
This means that all guests will have to wear some form of coverage (i.e. mask or a scarf) whenever they are getting food/beers, going to the bathroom, entering/exiting the beer garden, etc. The only time when you don’t need to cover your nose/mouth is when you are sitting at your table.
Staff will of course be obligated to wear masks as well.
5. Those with symptoms or who have had contact with COVID-19 cases in the past 14 days may not enter
This kind of goes without saying, but according to the official framework, those who are excluded from being able to visit restaurants and beer gardens include:
- Those who have had contact with COVID-19 cases in the past 14 days
- People with non-specific general symptoms and respiratory symptoms of any severity
6. There will be a maximum occupancy enforced at all establishments
Line-ups may therefore be expected at busy times like weekends or after work. In these cases, the minimum 1.5m distance will be enforced in the line-ups as well.
7. More stringent hygienic rules will be enforced
Lastly, this is more on the industry side, but you should know that there will be stricter hygiene measures being enforced moving forward.
Some of these rules for gastronomy businesses include:
- A mandatory provision of washing facilities for guests and staff, including hand soap, disposable hand towels, and in some cases, hand disinfectant
- A minimization of guest contact with goods such as menus, napkins, and trays, along with a plan to clean/replace these elements after each use
- A limitation of self-service to only packaged products
- A mandatory ventilation plan to ensure adequate air circulation in establishments
- A mandatory hygiene and cleaning plan adhering to the official framework presented