Closed hotels, empty tracks, abandoned places. The daily picture in Dresden during the corona crisis. Almost all shops are closed, a few restaurants have offered take-away or delivery. Public life was restricted to an unimaginable degree, which brought serious consequences. Because hotel and restaurant businesses were closed not only the guests during the sunny Easter holidays but also business and leisure travelers in between did not came. Events, concerts and fairs were canceled or postponed. All tourism came to a standstill. Now it is gradually approaching the end of the crisis, the shops are allowed to open again and people are allowed to go out almost without restrictions. From last Friday, May 15th, restaurants were allowed to open again and hotels were again able to welcome tourists. Of course, all with certain restrictions.
Since I am a trained hotel industry expert myself, having seven years of work experience and hotels, tourism and aviation are my absolute passion, it is of course tough to experience the current situation, which is why I decided to write this article.
Dresden during the quarantine
If you took a walk during the Corona crisis, you found the city in a state unknown for Dresden, completely empty. In April I also went for a walk with my wife because we absolutely had to get out again, of course, under compliance of the hygiene requirements that were in effect at the time. We started at the main train station, which is normally full of commuters and travelers.
After we left the main station we walked along the pedestrian zone Prager Strasse where besides closed shops and restaurants you als find the empty hotels of Ibis Hotels, the Pullman Newa and The Student Hotel.
From the pedestrian zone Prager Strasse we went across the Dr.-Külz-Ring square past the Altmarkt square to the church
Frauenkirche on Neumarkt square. Here too, the place is deserted. The doors of the Steigenberger Hotel de Saxe are closed and it is dark inside. Just like the other hotels and restaurants around
Along the church Frauenkirche our way to the mural Fürstenzug we passed the Hilton Dresden. The otherwise busy hotel and QF district left completely empty.
After the large mural called Fürstenzug we passed the church Kreuzkirche and ran up to the Bruehl terrace where you can otherwise watch the steamboats docking.
If you walk over the bridge Augustusbrücke, you will see a long building on the left, the Bilderberg Bellevue Hotel. From the bridge Augustusbrücke we went along the gardens in front of the Bellevue Hotel where you can enjoy the famous Canaletto view over the old town.
The Bilderberg Bellevue Hotel certainly imagined its start differently. On December 31, 2019, it was still The Westin Bellevue, transformed into the Bilderberg Bellevue Hotel over New Year, making it the first hotel of its chain in Germany. The hotel prepared for a restart within several renovation phases. But the corona crisis made it difficult for the Bilderberg Bellevue Hotel, like other hotels, to start 2020. Only 83 days after the Bellevue Hotel ran under a new name, Germany's first Bilderberg Hotel had to close again. After almost 2 months, the Bellevue Hotel will reopen on May 19.
From the Bellevue Hotel we went past the statue Goldener Reiter along the main road back home. If I had to sum up this walk through my home country, it was more than disappointing. To experience such a lively city like Dresden, which is influenced by the hotel industry, gastronomy, culture and their people, was really not nice to see. Without the people, locals, tourists and business travelers, Dresden looked like it had been taken from its lifeline.
What is happening next?
Since May 15th, restaurants and hotels have been allowed to open again, of course in accordance with certain guidelines. Nationwide, various distance rules still apply. In restaurants, the tables and chairs usually have to be 1.5 meters apart. Also when checking-in at the hotels, the contact between employees and guests should be limited. In many places there are distance markings and partitions that are intended to ensure regulated and safe guest traffic.
The damage that this almost two-month break leaves in the restaurant and hotel industry is immense, for many owners it was a question of existence. Employees were laid off or sent on short-time work. Many want the industry to recover quickly, but travel restrictions and I believe that some will be inhibited in general are factors for a slow recovery. Maybe I'm wrong and people are just going out and traveling, or maybe they're staying in their home city and trying out hotels in their own city. It can also be interesting to see your home through the eyes of a tourist. Let's hope that normal operation will soon be possible again without restrictions and that the hotels are 100% full again and restaurants can serve fully occupied tables. Because a Dresden without people is not the Dresden I know.
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