Bonn Beginning on Monday, Covid restrictions are to be relaxed in Bonn. Customers will be allowed to go back into stores, provided they test negative, are fully vaccinated or have recovered from Covid-19. Retailers are insisting on a clear outline for the next steps.
The openings are possible despite the federal “emergency brake” since the seven-day incidence rate has been below 150 for five consecutive working days. The rule is that the openings can occur the day after the five consecutive working days. In this case, Ascension Thursday fell in the middle (not a work day). In Bonn, the incidence rate fell below that threshold last Saturday. The city pointed out on Friday that the state of North Rhine-Westphalia must formally declare the opening and that was expected to happen on Friday.
CDU takes credit for the openings
On Wednesday, Bonn's mayor Katja Dörner had not yet specified that stores would open on Monday, May 17. The Bonn CDU party is taking credit for the move, calling it a success for both the CDU and the retail trade. Only after massive pressure from the CDU council faction and Bonn's business community did the mayor change her original strategy. She initially wanted to wait until Tuesday to hold talks with business and trade leaders, not yet allowing a possible opening, according to CDU council faction leader Guido Déus.
In an angry letter, retail association chairman Jannis Vassiliou wrote to Dörner: "The situation is catastrophic. Show courage and foresight. Give the city back its vitality, something that should be a given." In response to a follow-up question, Dörner said, "In my opinion, we should proceed responsibly with the opening steps. That's why I'm looking very closely at the development of the pandemic, which in the last few days in Bonn is such that an implementation of the federal emergency brake is a responsible option."
Trade association wants to see the city's strategy for opening steps
Karina Kröber, chairwoman of the City Marketing trade association, said, "We need every day. I find it inexcusable that we still don't know anything from the city about how we can further proceed to open up again." Karin Neuefeind, who runs the store Schuh-Schuh on Friedrichstrasse, was incensed on Friday morning that there had been no customers by then: "After all, I have to tell my customers that they can come." Bettina Wagener, who runs a clothing store in Bad Godesberg, has this to say: "Retailers in Bonn urgently need sales, otherwise the stores will go bust." She fears that customers will drive to the Rhein-Sieg district and shop there.
Wagener pointed out that there is still no information from the city crisis team on Covid as to whether shoppers will no longer need to make appointments for shopping if the incidence rate falls under 100. The NRW Corona Protection Ordinance does not make it mandatory. It could take effect from the week after next and replace the federal “emergency brake”. City spokeswoman Monika Hörig said there would be discussions with trade associations on Tuesday as to whether testing would remain mandatory. The city wants to stay with its low-incidence strategy, she said. If it were to go beyond the Corona Protection Ordinance, the NRW health ministry would have to approve it. Orig. text: Philipp Königs Translation: Carol Kloeppel