Multi-Bed Rooms and Canteens in Bavarian Camps Violate Regulations Controlling Coronavirus Pandemic – Press Release of the Bavarian Refugee Council [german]
The housing in AnKER-centers and communal accommodations in Bavaria violates regulations the Bavarian state government enacted to control the coronavirus pandemic. It is impossible to stick to the required 1.5m distance and to minimize social or physical contact in multi-bed rooms. This also applies to all those who have to share bathrooms, washrooms and kitchens. Moreover, the canteens in AnKER-centers violate the current prohibition of catering.
Therefore, the Bavarian Refugee Council has started legal proceedings against the Bavarian interior ministry, the governments of Upper Bavaria, Lower Bavaria, Upper Palatinate, Middle Franconia, Lower Franconia and Swabia as executing authorities because of violating the Infection Protection Act.
The Bavarian Refugee Council prompts Joachim Herrmann, minister of the interior, to remedy. There are many empty accommodations allowing for refugees to live in single rooms and to drastically minimize the use of collective kitchens, washrooms and bathrooms. If these accommodations are not enough, vacant hotels could be rented. This is indispensable to protect refugees from an infection. In camps they are inevitably exposed to infection risks.
According to Herrmann, the governments “have already taken measures to lighten the occupancy.” However, there are refugees all over Bavaria placed in multi-bed rooms, even though they are not of the same household. Also, the canteens in the AnKER-centers violate the current prohibition of catering. There is no scenario that legally allows more than 30 people in the same room at the same time.
According to Herrmann, the Bavarian authorities do anything to prevent or stop chains of infection in asylum accommodations. This way “we can protect our population and the inhabitants of asylum accommodations.” Nevertheless, chains of infections can only be reconstructed when refugees have just arrived. Infection chains of those already living in Bavaria cannot be reconstructed. There is an immense risk for refugees to get an infection when they go to the doctor, the authorities, to work or from the staff of the camps. Playing off “our population” against “the inhabitants of asylum accommodations” is disgraceful.
Alexander Thal, spokesperson of the Bavarian Refugee Council, criticizes the state’s method: „The Bavarian state government decided in the past that every refugee entering the country has to be accommodated in AnKER-centers and afterwards in communal accommodations. Even though experts had warned against uncontrollable infection risks in such big camps, the state government stuck to this rigid camp system. Given the coronavirus-pandemic, we must do our utmost to avoid refugee camps to become infection sources of COVID-19. We strongly advise minister Herrmann and the district governments to only place families in the same rooms or to place people in single rooms. Anything else violates the Infection Protection Act mandated by the state government itself.”
Translation of the official charge file by the bavarian refugee council:
The charge filed by the Bavarian Refugee Council
Criminal charges for violating Infection Protection Act
Dear ladies and gentlemen:
We hereby file a demand for prosecution against those responsible for the accommodation of refugees in AnKER-centers and communal accommodations, namely
the governments of Upper Bavaria, Lower Bavaria, Upper Palatinate, Upper Franconia, Middle Franconia, Lower Franconia, and Swabia
the Bavarian interior ministry
for violating the Infection Protection Act.
They are accommodating refugees in multi-bed room in AnKER-centers and communal accommodations of the state and in decentralized accommodations of the rural districts. This exposes them to a tremendous risk of a coronavirus infection.
The refugees affected have no way to sticking to the BaylfSMV (Bayerische Verordnung über Infektionsschutzmaßnahmen anlässlich der Corona-Pandemie, engl.: Bavarian Regulation of Infection Protection Measures induced by the Corona-pandemic) of March 24, 2020:
Especially single persons are placed in multi-bed rooms with people who do not belong to their household. This is a violation of §4 of BaylfSMV because it is not possible to minimize physical contact and to keep a 1.5m distance.
There are families and single persons who are sharing washrooms, bathrooms and kitchens with other people. This is also a violation of § 4 of BaylfSMV. Minimizing physical contacts and keeping a 1.5m distance is not possible.
In AnKER-centers, the food supply happens in canteens. This goes against the prohibition of gastronomic services required by § 2 section 2 of BaylfSMV. Even though there are exceptions, canteens in AnKER-centers are no company canteens and criteria like a 30-person limit are frequently ignored.
The Bavarian interior ministry and the governments as executing authorities and operators of AnKER-centers and communal accommodations are obligated to provide accommodations that meet the requirements of the Bavarian Regulations induced by the Corona-Pandemic. Refugees have a right of protection from a coronavirus infection. So far, this is not the case. Refugees cannot end this illegal status quo. They were allocated to their respective accommodation and due to the Bavarian admission law, they have no right to look for their own places to live. In terms of accommodation and (food, etc.) supply they are completely dependent on the government.
Bavarian Refugee Council
Office northern Bavaria