Germany has banned foreign seasonal workers from entering its territory due to the coronavirus pandemic, however, the new restrictions do not apply to Polish and Czech citizens. Earlier, Poland extended existing border restrictions aimed at limiting unrestricted cross-border commuting to at least April 13.
The ban introduced by Germany came into force on Wednesday and is valid until further notice. The decision was taken by the Interior Minister of Germany Horst Seehofer "to minimize the risk of cross-border infections," the Interior Ministry announced.
"The new rules apply to entry to Germany from developing countries, the UK, EU countries that do not belong to the Schengen (zone) (including Bulgaria and Romania) and countries with which controls have been temporarily reintroduced at internal borders,"
Therefore, the ban does not apply to Polish and Czech citizens with whom Germany has not yet introduced controls on the border.
Polish Interior Minister Mariusz Kamiński had previously announced that in the wake of prolonging the period of restricted border controls, a new ban on cross-border commuting would be introduced.
"From Friday, those who cross the Polish borders will be subject to a two-week quarantine. They have two days to stabilise their professional situation. If they want, they can stay on the other side of the border, they have time to rent temporary accommodation and maybe their employers will help them to do so. However, we need to tighten up some sanitary conditions", said Mr Kamiński.
He added that citizens must not be allowed to flow freely across borders, especially when coming to Poland from countries where the level of infections is remarkably higher.
"I join the appeal of the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs to avoid all foreign travel that is not necessary", said the Polish ambassador in Berlin Andrzej Przyłębski.
Polish citizens who have to come to work in Germany should follow the information published by the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the embassy in Berlin on an ongoing basis, "in order to properly adhere to the recommended security measures and not to expose themselves unnecessarily to the risk of coronavirus infection", Mr Przyłębski said.
Annually, about 300,000 foreign seasonal employees work on crops in Germany, the lion’s share of them constitute those coming from Central and Eastern Europe. Since the introduction of border restrictions in Germany due to the coronavirus pandemic, German media drew attention to the farmers claiming that not enough manpower will be ready for work this season.