Due to the lockdown the incidence numbers in Speyer were down to under 20, but as soon as the lockdown ended the numbers were soaring again, unfortunately. Speyer is now levelling around 150.
This is not that surprising. On Easter Sunday there were a few visitors in town, but in spite of the obligation to wear a mask about one quarter did not wear one or not completely over mouth and nose. Wherever you look there a slight violations of the rules. It seems that only a hard regiment can keep the numbers down. The personal responsibility, which was demanded by the federal president Steinmeier in his Easter speech, has not reached everybody.
The hard lockdown over the holiday seasen had the desired effect, mid January the incidence in Speyer dropped under 100 and it keeps on going down.
The number of infections in Speyer remains high, it is only the even higher numbers in Saxonia which keep Speyer off the top 5 in Germany. Therefore a nightly curfew from 21 - 5 has been installed since Monday Dec 7th. Until today (day 6) this had no effect, the numbers are staying high, yesterday 33 new cases have been confirmed.
33 Infections per day would be counting up to 231 a week. Since Speyer has a population around 50.000 this would be an incidence of 462 per week and per 100.000 inhabitants. This is the range where Speyer is at the moment (ca. 400)
The high numbers in the area are having the effect that all beds in intensive care in Ludwigshafen are full, and some patients had to be carried off to other hospitals. Therefore it can be expected that more drastic measures will be taken which will influence the holidays. There is no hope of an ordinary Christmas and New Year this time.
Speyer was for a long time at the back end of the infection numbers. Now the situation has been reversed, Speyer has with 364 Infections per week and per 100,000 inhabitants the highest numbers in Rhineland-Palatinate, and is in the top 5 of the whole of Germany. On November 17th it became mandatory to wear a face mask in town centre, but so far the numbers could not be forced downwards. According to Mayoresse Seiler the high numbers are due to few hotspots in Pensioner's and other shared homes, and these are subject to consequent testing and stricter rules now. Let's hope that this will have the desired effect.
Meanwhile some scattered Christmas stalls have been put up in town to have at least a bit of a Christmas market.
On Oct. 26th Speyer has crossed the critical margin of 50 new infections per 100.000 inhabitants during one week, and therefore is in "condition red". The infection rate is in the same order as for the neighbouring districts. And the outlook is that it is further rising, unfortunately.
The Wine Tasting, the Autumn Fair and the St. Martin's Parade have all been cancelled.
There has been a lot of discussions abouth the Christmas Market. It was clear that it could not be held in the hitherto existing form, packed tightly on the side of the Maximilianstrasse between the Old Mint and the Town House, it was always too overcrowded in the past. Therefore it was planned around the cathedral, but the stall owners did not like it. Then there was the idea to use the Festplatz, but this has also been discarded now. The latest idea is to spread single stalls around town centre. But if that really happens is still in question.
In the meantime the Altstadtfest has been cancelled, as well as the Farmer's Market.
The number of cases has gone up at the beginning of June, with 6 new infections within a week. The reasons for that I don't know. I can only hope that this has nothing to do with the loosening hygiene measurements.
Of course Speyer has also been hit by the Corona crisis. At the end of March most shops were closed and all events have been cancelled until the end of August. For a while there has been an eerie silence in town.
Meanwhile there is more life again in town. If there wouldn't be the queues in front of the shops with safety distance and people with masks you would not see much of a difference to before. What is different is that there are no events taking place at all - yet.
So far Speyer has got away lightly. As in the whole of the federal country of Rhineland-Palatinate the number of infections is not that high. On May 23rd there have been 84 cases reportet with one new infection in the week before. Unfortunately there are two fatalities now, but compared to other towns this is rather low.
But this exactly seems to be the problem, since people are easying the restrictions themselves without direct danger. On Ascension Day, which is Father's Day here, groups of people were going aroung on foot and on bicycles, and everywhere there have been family gatherings. Since Monday May 18th it is allowed again to receive visitors, but only from one other household. It is questionable if this has been followed all the time. So far I have not see any kind of enforcement.
During shopping you can also see a decline in discipline, some vendors don't wear masks anymore, other people start chatting and take their masks of because it is easier without. The fact that is is the talking that enhances the spread of the virus is just ignored.
The other problem is that the constant flow of new Corona regulations per federal country makes it difficult to know what is allowed at the moment and what is not. In Rhineland-Palatinate we are on regulation No. 7, if you extrapolate to the other 15 countries you get quite a lot. A lot of news sites have now a display on what is regulated where at the moment. In this case the federal system is not helpful at all, it is plain stupid.
So you can only hope that the dreaded second wave of infections is not coming and everything turns out fine.
In the recent years Speyer has depended a lot on tourism, and in the actual crisis this is the sector that is hit the hardest. Hotels and Restaurants have significant drops in income and are fighting for their very existence. It may take years bevor this sector regains the strength it had before the crisis. But it is very hard to predict at the moment.
The same problem is hitting the event managers, the people running the fairground attractions and the stall owners. Whereas the latter can still sell from home or over the internet, the others are currently out of their jobs. And it does not look like the usual frequency of events will restart soon.
Speyer is hit by the event cancellations a lot because these are a part of what makes Speyer what it is.
The Spring Fair
The Wine Tasting "Wein am Dom"
The Erection of the Guild's Pole
Open Sunday and Spring festival
The Kult(o)urnacht (Culture Night)
The Brezelfest - this one hurts the most
Whether the Altstadtfest will take place in September is questionable, it depends how the Corona infection wave develops.
In summary it can be stated that this year is, like everywhere else in this world, is the most unusual year since the end of the second world war. Let's see what else it will bring. In any case I wish everybody good health, and that the Corona wave will end soon.