For people living in Austria's border regions, crossing into Germany to fill the tank or do a little bit of shopping – or visit the pharmacy – has been a way of life for decades.
Since Wednesday, December 9th, however, Austrians have been prohibited from crossing the border to go shopping or to many any other form of purchase in Germany due to quarantine regulations.
Anyone breaching quarantine violations in Germany risks a fine of up to €2,000 – even just for a short trip across the border to fill the car up with petrol or to go shopping.
A spokesperson for the Bavarian Ministry of Health, Marcus da Gloria Martins, told BR24 that crossing the border to buy something was an “unnecessary journey across the border” and therefore would attract a fine.
More information about the rules relating to entering Germany – including the quarantine requirements – is available here.
No cross-border shopping
Under the Entry Quarantine Ordinance (Einreise-Quarantäne-Verordnung), ‘unnecessary trips’ across the border are punishable by fines.
Germany’s BR24 reports that the German federal police will be carrying out regular checks in border regions to deter Austrians crossing the border into Germany to go shopping.
A spokesperson for the Bavarian interior ministry said that “the federal police are responsible for border controls in the strict sense of the word”.
How do I prove I am not shopping?
While some Austrians may be concerned that they will attract a fine due primarily to their licence plates, there are other valid reasons for entering Germany – primarily for work, visiting relatives, attending an educational institution or for medical care.
The police have the power to stop any vehicle they wish to, even on the basis of having a foreign licence plate.
There is no set form to be used to prove the nature of your trip to the police, with authorities saying they will take each case on its merits.
Fines issued for breachers
German police confirmed that ‘dozens’ of Austrians were issued with fines over the weekend of December 12th and 13th for crossing into Germany to go shopping.
The Passauer Neue Press reported that police were carrying out checks on shoppers in the district of Simbach am Inn, Bavaria.
One 38-year-old man was issued with a fine by police after officers noticed his Austrian licence plates.