Drive-through beerfests and glass 'greenhouses' over tables at restaurants: Photos show the measures Germany is taking to start reopening

Hauke-Christian Dittrich/Getty ImagesAn actor walks across a parking lot on stilts during a drive-in ‘car disco’ in Schüttorf on April 30, 2020.
  • Germany has started reopening on a state-by-state basis after enacting coronavirus lockdown measures beginning March 22.
  • As of May 19, Germany is among the 10 countries most affected by the coronavirus worldwide, but has the lowest fatality rate, according to data from John Hopkins University.
  • The fatality rate is a calculation that divides the number of coronavirus deaths by the number of infections.
  • Merkel has urged leaders of Germany’s 16 federal states to lift restrictions gradually; however, thousands of Germans gathered in cities the past two weeks to protest measures still in place.
  • Photos of drive-through beer festivals, glass houses placed over restaurant tables, and sparsely populated soccer stadiums show how Germany’s reopening slowly, but surely.


Germany, one of the countries most impacted by the coronavirus based on number of deaths, has started lifting coronavirus restrictions following a lockdown that began in mid-March.

Alexander Hassenstein/Getty ImagesA customer accepts a pack of beer and serving of pork knuckle at a drive-in beerfest in Erding, Germany on May 17, 2020.

Source: Business Insider, Johns Hopkins University


As of May 19, Germany is among the 10 countries most affected by the virus, but it has the lowest fatality rate, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Johns Hopkin University Coronavirus Resource CentreMay 19, 2020: The bars in the chart above show the number of deaths per 100 confirmed cases (observed case-fatality ratio) for the 10 countries most affected by COVID-19 worldwide. Countries at the top of this figure have the most deaths proportionally to their COVID-19 cases.

Source: Business Insider, Johns Hopkins University


Germany went into lockdown beginning March 22, banning public gatherings of more than two people, closing schools and non-essential businesses, and urging residents to stay five feet away from each other.

Fabrizio Bensch/ReutersThe area near Brandenburg Gate in Berlin is devoid of foot traffic on March 25, 2020.

Source: New York Times


The number of new daily infections peaked one week into the lockdown, then began to fall off.

Source: Our World in Data


Germany’s success in managing the spread of the virus has been attributed to early lockdown measures, widespread testing, a well-funded healthcare system, and clear messaging from the government, Business Insider’s Bill Bostock previously reported.

Sean Gallup/Getty ImagesMedical volunteers walk to a medical practice after collecting blood and mucus samples in Berlin, Germany, on March 27, 2020.

Source: Business Insider


Following a drop in the daily rate of new coronavirus cases, Chancellor Angela Merkel met with the governors of Germany’s 16 federal states on April 15 to discuss a plan for reopening.

Associated PressChancellor Angela Merkel accompanied by her bodyguards on May 13, 2020.

Source: Reuters


Soon after, Germany made plans to reopen on a state-by-state basis, beginning with in-person classes for graduating high school students in late April.

Bodo Schackow/Picture Alliance/Getty ImagesPupils wearing face masks sit in a gymnasium converted into a classroom in Thuringia on April 27, 2020.

Source: Business Insider, The Local


Shops, restaurants, museums, and places of worship have also been able to reopen as long as they observe social distancing.

Kyodo News/Getty ImagesAn employee wearing a face shield chats with a customer at his cafe in Berlin on May 15, 2020.

Source: Business Insider, The Local


Restaurants have come up with particularly creative distancing solutions. This brasserie in Hagen has set up outdoor dining ‘greenhouses’ so that the restaurants can safely serve customers outside regardless of weather.

Bernd Thissen/Getty ImagesA server at Novy’s Brasserie in Hagen serves guests seated at tables in small greenhouses on May 14, 2020.

Source: The Local, Business Insider


In Laatzen, a hotel is placing realistic-looking plastic dolls at tables to signal that they are off-limits and make restaurants feel less empty.

Julian Stratenschulte/Getty ImagesDolls sit in a restaurant at Hotel Haase in Laatzen on May 12, 2020.

Source: The Local, Business Insider


The Gutenberg Museum in Mainz, one of the oldest museums in the world dedicated to printing, made complimentary face masks for visitor use.

Andreas Arnold/Getty ImagesAn employee at the Gutenberg Museum, which opened to the public on May 19, 2020, hangs complimentary face masks on a wall.

Source: The Local, Business Insider, Museums of the World


This church in Perlin moved service outside in order to keep devotees physically apart.

Jens Büttner/Getty ImagesMembers of a Perlin parish in Perlin attend an outdoor service on May 3, 2020

Source: The Local, Business Insider


During a May 12 broadcast, Chancellor Angela Merkel said that the ingredients for a successful reopening are “social distancing, face masks, and respect.”

Associated PressGerman Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Source: Business Insider, DW Politics


On May 16, Bundesliga, Germany’s soccer league, resumed operations and became the first major league in the world to do so. Mike booms and a ban on handshakes have kept games and interviews social-distancing compliant.

Tobias Hase/Pool/Getty ImagesAugsburg’s assistant coach Tobias Zellner gives an interview on May 16, 2020 in Augsburg.

Source: Insider, Business Insider


Though the country is lifting restrictions, thousands of Germans gathered in large cities, from Stuttgart to Berlin, over the past several weekends to protest lockdown measures still in place.

Thomas Lohnes/Getty ImagesDemonstrators gather in Stuttgart to protest against lockdown measures and other government policies relating to the coronavirus on May 16, 2020.

Source: NPR, The Local


Merkel has cautioned against reopening too quickly, saying last month that Germany must pursue a “smart and careful” reopening strategy to prevent a wave of new infections.

Robert Michael/Getty Images)Angelika ‘Geli’ Päßler, owner of a Spanish Tapas Bar in Dresden, taps a beer while wearing a protective visor on May 15 2020.

Source: New York Times


For now, across all states, large gatherings are banned until August 31. That hasn’t stopped Germans from finding workarounds, like drive-in concerts.

Andreas Rentz/Getty ImagesFans show their support from cars at drive-in concert at Am Westwerk during the Coronavirus crisis on May 15, 2020 in Bonn, Germany.

Source: The Local


Residents of Altenburg have been able to attend drive-in ‘car discos’ and party to house music until 1 a.m.

Jens Meyer/AP PhotoPeople party during a ‘car disco’ event in Altenburg on May 16, 2020.

Source: Associated Press


In Landshut, hosts of an annual folk fair made festivities drive-through friendly instead of calling off the event.

Armin Weigel/Getty ImagesGuests wait in their cars to pick up food and drink during a drive-through folk festival in Landshut on May 5, 2020.

Source: Getty

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