W.e are in spring, and the fear of the next corona wave is spreading again throughout Germany, the time for openings is over. All over Germany? No! In a not so small town in the far north, the situation is different. Instead, a small step back to normal will be taken in Rostock on Saturday.
Political correspondent for Northern Germany and Scandinavia based in Hamburg.
777 fans should be allowed to watch in the stadium when Hansa Rostock fights for points for promotion to the second division. The city has a good 200,000 inhabitants, an incidence of just under 23, and at the top is an independent Dane, Claus Ruhe Madsen.
The situation in Rostock has been attracting attention far beyond the borders of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania for weeks, a positive story in the pandemic dreariness. Madsen is not only a regular guest in German television studios, but also in the media in his homeland.
Once, in the early 1990s, he had left Denmark for a year abroad and then never went back. In Rostock he set up a small chain of furniture stores and later also ran the city’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
In 2019 he went into the election campaign for the mayor’s office, emphasized as a citizen-friendly, non-party entrepreneur, even if the CDU and FDP had spoken out in favor of him. There wasn’t much time to settle down after his victory. He was in office for a few months when the corona crisis broke out.
There are many factors that can have an influence on a city’s pandemic situation and not necessarily have to do with the actions in the town hall, from the location to simply happiness. But it is obvious that the 49-year-old Madsen is particularly active and keeps coming up with ideas and concepts in the state capital Schwerin.
“Pilot project” in the Ostseestadion
Be it broad testing, which he relied on early on, or contact tracking with an app that is supposed to allow openings in restaurants and retail outlets. He advocates the opening of theaters or the Ostseestadions. Madsen wants to turn Rostock into a pilot city, he always says that he wants to gain data in order to learn what has which effects. Every spectator should also be tested in front of the stadium.
Since the numbers in the rest of the country are not looking so good, the state government is more reluctant to open up. Nevertheless, Prime Minister Manuela Schwesig (SPD) announced on Thursday evening after a cabinet meeting that regions with an incidence below 35 could start pilot projects in the future. Rostock was allowed to choose one – and opted for the audience at Hansa. Madsen himself does not want to go to the stadium, it said from the town hall. He doesn’t want to take away any of the 777 places.
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