Germans opt for staycations as virus fears linger

by Isabelle Le Page

Germans usually love their sun-soaked summer holidays abroad. But fears of a second wave of coronavirus infections have prompted a new holiday destination of choice: their home country.

On a recent public holiday, it was only 17 degrees Celsius (62 degrees Fahrenheit) in the seaside resort of Binz on the island of Ruegen.

But in the bright sunshine, with families playing ball on a sandy beach and couples lounging around with ice creams, it already felt like the height of summer.

It was almost as though the virus and weeks of lockdown since mid-March had all been a bad dream.

Few of the tourists wandering along the promenade were observing social distancing rules, and apart from restaurant staff and ice cream sellers, no one was wearing a mask.

At the start of this week, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, the northern German state least affected by the coronavirus pandemic, reopened its hotels, initially just for locals. From Monday, Germans from all over the country will be able to join the fun.

For local resident Regina, it’s a relief to see people milling around again on the promenade on the Baltic Sea, with its pretty white houses.

“It is nice. We’ve been feeling very lonely in Binz lately,” the 69-year-old said.

“It feels good, liberating, to be here again!” said Julia Holz, 34, who came to Binz with her husband and two children to visit family and enjoy the beach. (AFP)

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