How can I have fitness trips abroad

Gyms in lockdown, trips are canceled : Which customers can now claim their money back

Fitness studios close, museums close, restaurants are not allowed to welcome guests, theater performances and concerts are canceled, and holidays within Germany are not possible. And even outside the German borders, more and more regions are being declared risk areas, and people are warned against traveling.

For those who love culture, sports and travel, difficult times will begin on Monday - combined with very practical questions: If the fitness studio can continue to debit membership fees, I will get the failed concert reimbursed, and what will happen to my train ticket if I take the trip because of the state Restrictions can not occur?

Do I have to keep paying for the gym?

A legitimate question that applies not only to sports clubs, but also to dance studios or yoga classes. The answer depends crucially on when you signed your contract. If that was before March 8th of this year, then the operator can issue you a voucher for the time of the closure. This results from the "Law to Mitigate the Consequences of the COVID-19 Pandemic", which has been in force since May. Then allowed to

Organizers of music, cultural, sports or other leisure events as well as operators of leisure facilities issue vouchers instead of a refund of the money if events are canceled due to Corona or facilities are closed due to Corona. If the voucher is not redeemed by December 31, 2021, you can request a payout.

The situation is different if you have become a member of the sports studio on March 8th or after, or have booked your pottery course: "In this case, you have the right to have the money reimbursed for the loss," says Julia Rehberg from the Hamburg consumer center. Because the law only applies to contracts that were concluded before March 8th.

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What about concerts or plays?

The same rules apply here. The key date is March 8th, which decides whether you have to accept a voucher or not.

Consumer advocate Rehberg sees this differentiation with growing concern. "If failures pile up and more and more people can claim their money back, there may not be enough money left to pay off the vouchers later," fears the consumer advocate.

What happens if I have booked a private party in the restaurant?

From Monday, all restaurants and cafés in Germany will be closed until the end of the month. Anyone who has booked a room plus catering for a private party does not have to pay. "You don't owe any rent for the premises and you don't have to pay anything for other services such as catering, service, music and photos if you can't use these services," says the consumer advice center in North Rhine-Westphalia. The consumer advocates, however, recommend trying to find an alternative date. Gastronomy and small businesses in particular could be threatened in their existence by the corona crisis.

I have booked a vacation rental in Germany for November. Do i have to pay?

"No," says consumer advocate Rehberg. The case is clear: if the authorities forbid overnight stays for tourists, the hotelier or holiday home landlord may not let you have the room or apartment. In return, you don't have to pay anything.

The situation may be different if you have booked accommodation abroad on your own. You may have to pay the rent even though the country is a risk area and it makes no sense to travel. You can find an overview of the regulations in the various EU countries on the website of the European Consumer Center here.

What about package tours?

Due to the dramatic increase in the number of corona infections, the federal government has classified eight other European countries such as Croatia, Hungary and Bulgaria as risk areas from Sunday. Austria and Italy are almost completely on the risk list, as are regions in six other EU countries, as the Robert Koch Institute announced on Friday.
Associated with this is a travel warning from the Foreign Office for tourist travel, which is now valid again for a large part of Europe: Of the 26 countries in the EU except Germany, 17 are fully affected and 8 are partially affected from Sunday. Only Estonia is completely "risk-free".

The designation as a risk area and the automatically associated travel warning does not mean a travel ban, but should have the greatest possible deterrent effect on tourists. The good thing for vacationers: You can cancel trips that have already been booked free of charge if your destination is declared a risk area.

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What do returnees from risk areas have to consider?

So far, the following applies: Returnees from the risk areas currently still have to be in quarantine for 14 days, but can be freed from it prematurely by a negative test at the airport or train station, for example. That should change at the end of the autumn vacation on November 8th: Then you can only be “freed” five days after your return, according to the model quarantine regulation. It is under discussion that travelers returning to quarantine will not receive any wages unless they can work from home.

Which regions are not risk areas?

The classification changes quickly. Currently, the following applies: In Austria, the Kleinwalsertal and the Jungholz community are "risk-free". In Italy, Calabria is exempt from the travel warning. In Portugal, the south of the country and the Algarve are not risk areas. With Western Macedonia in the north of the country, Greece will have a risk area for the first time from Sunday. The entire south, including all the Greek islands, is not yet on the list of the Robert Koch Institute. For the Spanish Canary Islands - one of the most popular winter travel destinations for Germans - the travel warning was lifted last week.

What does the train do?

In the first lockdown, Deutsche Bahn had shown goodwill: customers could flexibly use economy tickets with a specific train connection beyond the validity date. This applied to Spar and Super Sparpreis tickets that were purchased before March 13th and which should be used by May 4th. Passengers could cancel these tickets, redeem them for a voucher or leave by October 31. Around five million tickets were affected.

Such a regulation is currently not planned. Deutsche Bahn has been actively recommending booking cancellable offers since spring, a spokeswoman said on request. "Unfortunately, super-saver-price tickets are excluded from cancellation. We explicitly point this out in the booking process and assume that our customers consciously decide to forego cancellation in favor of a low price," says the Deutsche Bahn.

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