Local Bavarian Biergarten (Photo courtesy of Julian Temblador)

GRAFENWOEHR, Germany — As COVID-19 restrictions begin to relax and spring brings better weather in Bavaria, beer gardens reopened across Germany.


A beer garden (taken from the German word, “Biergarten”) is an open-air space, where beer and food are served — typically at a communal table. 


The idea dawned in the 19th century, as Bavarian breweries planted gardens and trees above cellars, to keep their lagers cool enough to ferment underground. And on Jan. 4, 1812, Bavaria’s first king signed a decree to allow brewers the ability to sell beer on the spot. 


With the Bavarian beer garden being a long-standing tradition, German officials implemented safe ways to allow operations to continue — at a limited capacity — during this global pandemic.


“The time has come for a cautious reopening,” said Bavarian Minister-President Markus Söder, during a press conference on May 5.


Local beer gardens made some significant changes to adapt to the new normal that coronavirus brings. If you want to enjoy the Bavarian tradition of beer gardens this spring, here are a few things you should know:


  • Most establishments will have a separate entrance and exit, to minimize contact with other customers.


  • When entering the establishment, wear a mask and maintain social distance between employees and other customers. You may remove your mask once you sit at your table.


  • If you need to use the restroom, you are required to put your mask on while you’re away from the table.


  • Communal tables are no longer allowed. You and your family may dine together, along with up to one other family. There must be at least 2 meters between tables. 


  • At your table, you and your family will have to fill out some basic information. In the case of a coronavirus breakout, the Bavarian government can use this information for tracing purposes.


  • Wash your hands and practice strict hygiene measures. Bring hand sanitizer, and try not to touch your face. 


  • The same rules above apply to the restaurants that offer outdoor seating.


  • Remember, General Order 1B restricts Soldiers from dining-in at indoor facilities. 

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