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US Army in Bavaria limits social gatherings to ‘flatten the second wave’ of coronavirus

U.S. soldiers order fast food on Tower Barracks in Grafenwoehr, Germany, Nov. 2, 2020, where a sign reads ''Takeout Only.'' Eateries are restricted to providing only takeout or delivery meals starting Nov. 2, 2020, as U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria toughened up coronavirus rules to try to flatten the curve of a second wave in Germany.

IMMANUEL JOHNSON/STARS AND STRIPES

By IMMANUEL JOHNSON | STARS AND STRIPES Published: November 2, 2020

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GRAFENWOEHR, Germany — Soldiers assigned to U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria faced tougher coronavirus restrictions starting Monday as the garrison stepped up its effort to stop a second wave of the virus in Germany.

Social gatherings are limited to two households and a maximum of 10 people under the new rules, the garrison said in a statement.

The restrictions on gatherings apply in public or private settings and will remain in force for 28 days, or two incubation cycles for the virus, the statement said. By severely restricting gatherings for that length of time, the garrison hopes to “flatten the second wave of infection,” it said.

The new rules apply to soldiers in Garmisch, Grafenwoehr, Hohenfels and Vilseck, and in the Republic of Georgia and Ukraine.

They mirror measures announced last week by the German government as new cases increased by record numbers nearly every day in the country. Germany’s tougher restrictions, which include a partial shutdown, took effect around the country Monday and will remain in force at least until the end of November.

Also in line with Germany, schools, child care facilities and houses of worship will be allowed to remain open, as long as they have coronavirus hygiene and mitigation plans in place, it said. Dining at on-post restaurants was still allowed Monday, but garrison officials said that takeout and delivery would be the only possible options from Tuesday through the end of the month. Off-post restaurants closed to in-person dining Monday.

As of midnight Monday, Bavaria has had a total of 109,349 coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic seven months ago, the second highest case load for a German state after North Rhine-Westphalia to the northwest, Germany’s public health agency, the Robert Koch Institute said.

There were 833 new cases of the virus per 100,000 inhabitants over the past week in Bavaria, according to RKI — far above the national average of around 100 new cases per 100,000 residents, and the 50 cases per 100,000 incidence rate that health officials have set as the threshold that indicates urgent action needs to be taken to curb the virus.

Stars and Stripes reporter Marcus Kloeckner contributed to this report.

johnson.immanuel@stripes.com
Twitter: @Manny_Stripes

Members of U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria stand away from each other as they wait to order at the Starbucks on Tower Barracks, Grafenwoehr, Germany. The garrison restricted the size of social gatherings on Nov. 2, 2020, in an effort to flatten the curve of a second wave of the coronavirus in Germany.
IMMANUEL JOHNSON/STARS AND STRIPES