Bonn · Last Saturday, masks became mandatory in pedestrian zones and shopping areas in Bonn. Many people have been following the new regulation, but the city reports that 44 mask violations were issued.
The message is clear: "Masks are compulsory here" is written in white on a red background on the signs hanging in the pedestrian zones and shopping streets in Bonn, Beuel, Bad Godesberg and Duisdorf. Since Saturday, pedestrians there have been required to wear masks, cyclists are exempt from the regulation. The message seems to be getting through. Most people are sticking to the rule, as a couple of rounds of the city center have shown. But there are a few who don’t wear a mask.
“It’s totally ok", says Barbara Deuling about the obligatory masks. "This is the only way to do it," says the Bonn resident, keeping in mind the rising number of cases. She does not find the masks disturbing. "It's all a matter of habit.” Mateusz Blaszczyk has a similar view. He also considers the new regulation "a good solution. Where more people come together, it's better," says the Bonn resident.
A similar picture can be found in Beuel. A small sample taken by GA shows that the majority of the pedestrians there stick to the rule and wear masks. Away from the shopping streets, many take off their masks, as can be observed near the city center. "It's a little more comfortable," says one man. Does he find the rule to be good in general? "Definitely," he says as he continues on his way.
Since the weekend, the city's public order officers have been checking whether people are wearing masks in the areas required. In the first few days, it was about creating awareness. The people who were not wearing masks were approached by the officers and warned, according to deputy city spokesman Marc Hoffmann. The overwhelming majority adhered to the mask regulation initially.
But the picture seems to have changed a bit in the meantime. "The mandatory mask wearing was well received at first”, according to the city administration, “but the latest checks show that masks are not always worn," says Hoffmann. And so fines are now being imposed. The city reports that 44 mask violations were issued between Wednesday evening and Thursday noon. A violation results in a 50 euro fine. The city said it would continue to monitor all areas affected by the new mask regulation.
So far, the obligatory masks in pedestrian zones doesn’t seem to have affected how many people are going into the stores. "As I have seen it so far, it hasn't had much of an impact," says Tim Nottelmann, who sells liqueurs and oils in his shop "vom Fass" on Sternstrasse. Carolina Kaptin from the cosmetics store “Lush” says, "People are more willing to buy again.” She welcomes the mandatory mask wearing. "You should have understanding for the people around you." Gisbert Weber also sees it that way. It is about safety, especially "for high-risk patients or people who feel worried about their safety,” says the chairman of the Hardtberg Economic and Trade Association. He does not see any negative effects on business in Duisdorf. "I don't think it will lead to less frequency in the stores," he says.
Some people wonder about the size of the signs and the fact that some of them hang quite high. "For traffic-related reasons, the signs hang higher up on the poles. It’s so they don’t get in the way of delivery traffic or pedestrians," explains Hoffmann.
But some adjustments may still be made concerning the mandatory mask wearing in pedestrian zones and on shopping streets. "In the next few days, the city administration will see what the experience has been with the compulsory masks, evaluate it and make any necessary changes," says Hoffmann. This could include freeing some streets or areas of the regulation and adding others. "That is conceivable," says Hoffmann. But it is also possible that the mask obligation will be limited in time, or that the regulation will only apply to certain stretches of streets. But until any changes are made, the current mandatory mask wearing regulation remains the same.
(Orig. text: Alexander Hertel / Translation: ck)