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Corona violations: Cities in the region hand out thousands of euros in fines

Corona violations : Cities in the region hand out thousands of euros in fines

The Corona Protection Ordinance has been in force since mid-March, with violators subject to fines. How many violations have been issued in Bonn and the Rhine-Sieg district so far? How high are the fines? Here’s a look at what has transpired until now.

The Corona Protection Ordinance has been in force in North Rhine-Westphalia for around three months now, but people do not always follow the regulations and restrictions. Since March 23, local authorities in Bonn and the Rhine-Sieg district have repeatedly found violations, initiated hundreds of proceedings and imposed tens of thousands of euros in fines. The number of offenses punished and the fines levied vary considerably, as a survey of the cities shows.

By the beginning of July, around 1,300 complaints concerning violations of the Corona Protection Ordinance had been filed with the City of Bonn. Around 960 fines were issued. The majority of them had to do with violations of the contact ban. Responding to an inquiry from the GA, the city said it had collected about 63,000 euros in fines. But up to 200,000 euros could still be taken in from outstanding fines. "However, it is unclear whether such a total will really be collected," says deputy city spokesman Marc Hoffmann. One reason is that some people may challenge their fines.

More violations in Siegburg than in Königswinter

A popular excursion point in the region is the Drachenfels, which offers a scenic view of the Rhine, but it is not a hotspot for offenders of corona regulations, says Nicolas Klein, head of the Königswinter Public Order Office. While there may have been some violations there, as well as on the banks of the Rhine, "the violations have occurred throughout the entire city area," he says. There have been 161 complaints filed and 114 fines issued. In 47 cases, the proceedings were dropped. This can happen when a person credibly demonstrates that he or she has not violated the regulations. The fines collected have totaled 23,854 euros so far. "The majority are violations concerning the ban on contact," says Klein. But a fine was also slapped on a hair salon that opened its doors despite the ban.

In contrast to Königswinter, Siegburg has had significantly more violations. 308 cases have been pursued so far, with fines totaling 72,200 euros and 11,300 euros of that collected so far, according to city spokesperson Jan Gerull. In Hennef, the city has issued 29 fines in recent months because of violations of the Corona Protection Ordinance. According to press spokeswoman Mira Steffan, the fines amount to 6,818 euros. The city of Bad Honnef has initiated 107 proceedings up to now. In addition to violations of the ban on contact, the city reports that there have been fines issued for the consumption of food within 50 meters of the point of sale as well as violations for picnics and barbecues in public spaces.

By the beginning of July, the city of Bornheim had initiated about 200 proceedings concerning violations of the corona rules. It is unclear how much money this will bring to the city, as the cases are still ongoing, explains city spokesman Christoph Lüttgen. "However, one can assume that fines will average 200 euros each," he says. But some of the fines may be appealed.

In comparison with other major cities in North Rhine-Westphalia, Bonn is in the average range. The cities of Aachen (921) and Cologne (859) have issued a similar number of fines to date, as a sample from WDR shows. According to the survey of twelve cities, Duisburg leads the field with 2,483 fines, followed by Dortmund (2,052). The cities of Düsseldorf (520), Münster (132), Bielefeld (67) and Siegen (37) have all issued far fewer fines than Bonn.

Failure to use correct name may result in a fine

A fine can also be imposed if guests in a restaurant give out false information. According to the regulation, restaurateurs are obliged to have a list where they have recorded the contact details of their guests and keep this list for four weeks. Lüttgen says the restaurants have to rely on their guests giving them truthful information. If someone is found to have given information that is not correct, they can be fined for that. While the restaurant is obligated to collect the guest information, it is not required to proof identities of guests.

However, if guests refuse to give their information or if they fill out the list in an obviously wrong or incomplete way, management is not allowed to serve them and is obligated to ask them to leave. Hoffmann: "If the guests refuse to leave the restaurant, management must call the Public Order Office or police for help."

Lüttgen believes in holding people accountable. It is "in the interest of the guest to provide correct information in order to be able to be informed promptly by the respective authorities in case of a possible outbreak", he says. Nicolas Klein, head of the Königswinter Public Order Office, takes the same view: "It serves the health, the general welfare.”

Orig. text: Alexander Hertel

Translation: ck