1. GA-English

No fine levied against discount grocer: Lidl at Bonn Central Station remains open on Sundays

No fine levied against discount grocer : Lidl at Bonn Central Station remains open on Sundays

The dispute between the city of Bonn and the discount grocer Lidl has been settled. The supermarket at Bonn Central Station will be allowed to open on Sundays. This is the city administration's response to a major inquiry by the citizen group Bürger Bund Bonn.

The Lidl grocery store located under Bonn Central Station is now permitted to open on Sundays. This was announced by the city administration in response to a major inquiry by the citizen group Bürger Bund Bonn (BBB). "After completing a review of the situation, opening the store on Sunday is permissible according to Section 9 of the Shop Opening Act," explained the city.

Until recently, the city of Bonn and the discount grocer Lidl held different opinions as to whether the branch at the main train station could also open on Sundays. According to the Shop Opening Act, this is only permitted for stores located at a train station where there are passengers. Deutsche Bahn stated that Lidl was no longer situated on its premises. The question ultimately had to do with whether or not the Lidl store was located in the area affiliated with Bonn Central Station.

For the traveler, there is an "objectively recognizable geographical connection"

The lawyer for Lidl claimed that "according to the prevailing opinion in case law and professional documentation, in the matter of the ‘train station sales privilege', it is no longer a question of the ownership and usage circumstances, but rather of whether there is an intrinsic and spatial connection of the sales space to the passenger train station". In other words, since the Lidl store is not clearly separated from the station area, it belongs to the passenger-serving train station. For the average traveler, they would see it as being connected to the train station.

This also applies if, as already mentioned, Deutsche Bahn AG states that the branch is not located on its property. The city administration explains: "The store therefore does not necessarily have to be located 'in' or exactly 'under' the station concourse or the tracks. What is necessary is a recognizable spatial and functional connection with the passenger station and this is sufficiently proven." A visit to the site by city staff and "a number of sketches and photographs of the location" further support this argument.

Lidl will not face fines for opening on Sundays

The Bürger Bund Bonn is very critical of allowing the store to open on Sundays. In its inquiry, the BBB wanted to know, among other things, whether Mayor Katja Dörner had submitted the matter to the district government for assessment. The city administration rejected this question, saying there was no cause to do so. The BBB also wanted to know if a fine would be issued because of the "illegal Sunday opening”. In light of the legal situation which had still been in need of clarification, the city responded that a fine would not be appropriate.

In response to a question from the BBB about whether all stores around Bonn's train stations could open on Sundays in the future, the city said no. Each individual case has to be considered with regard to the law. The city pointed out that there were also special regulations. Restaurants and stores whose core assortment consists of one or more of the product groups of flowers and plants, newspapers and magazines or bakery and confectionery products do not require a special permit.

(Orig. text: Thomas Leurs; Translation: ck)