Since the end of the Cold War and at the latest with the Czech Republic's accession to the European Union, the eastern Bavarian counties along the border with the Czech Republic developed into an important destination region for Czech commuters. The border closures in March 2020 in response to the spread of the Corona pandemic had a major impact on commuters and businesses close to the border, at least in the short term.
As part of the research project, the project team is investigating the economic geographic consequences of the Corona pandemic on Czech labor migration to eastern Bavaria and how regional economic development is dealing with the consequences. This is exemplified by a case study in the Upper Franconian district of Wunsiedel im Fichtelgebirge. The district of Wunsiedel is interesting because initial studies to date have focused primarily on the neighboring district of Tirschenreuth, which was considered a corona hotspot at the onset of the pandemic in March 2020. So far, the effects of border closures on the regional border economy beyond these corona hotspots have hardly been studied.
The project is based on the assumption that, in the context of the European integration process over the past 30 years, companies in the eastern Bavarian border region gradually took the certainty of open state borders for granted and took it into account in their corporate strategies. This expectation has now been disrupted by the Corona pandemic.
Based on this, the project team pursues three questions: