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Stricter measures ahead: Changes for daycares, schools and stores

Stricter measures ahead : Changes for daycares, schools and stores

The city of Bonn wants stricter measures in place to fight the coronavirus pandemic. It wanted to close schools and daycare centers but the state rejected closing the daycare centers. Federally mandated rules are expected next week. For shoppers and retailers, things will change again in any case.

Due to the increase in new infections and incidence rates, the city of Bonn announced its intention to tighten measures again. As Katja Dörner, mayor of Bonn, announced on Friday, the city will now apply to the state of NRW to close schools and daycare centers again as soon as possible. The idea is that there would only be care or supervision for children whose parents are both in jobs considered to be essential. There would be no changes for school students who will be moving on to other schools or graduating this year, they will continue with in-person learning. But mandatory mask-wearing in the vicinity of schools would be tightened; this decision still had to be coordinated with the state.

State does not want to grant approval for daycare center request

Concerning the request by the city to keep daycare centers only open for emergency care - for children of parents considered to hold essential jobs, Family Minister Joachim Stamp told the GA that its ministry rejects municipalities going it alone and such requests will not be granted. Stamp's ministry already rejected similar requests in other cases. He prefers to go back to the restricted regular operations practiced in day cares in the spring of 2020.

The restricted regular operations mean that the children are cared for ten hours less than contractually agreed with the parents and only in fixed groups. "However, if municipalities want to appeal to parents to leave the children at home as part of the general decree, we will allow cities with increased infection incidences to do so, as is currently the case in Bonn. If federal infection control prescribes otherwise, we will of course have to implement that," Stamp continued.

Stamp: "Waiting for adoption of the Federal Protection against Infection Act".

An official press release issued Friday afternoon by the NRW Ministry for Children, Family, Refugees and Integration also said that the state government would not add to the current discussion about further protective measures. "We are waiting for the adoption of the Federal Infection Protection Act next week. We therefore do not agree to a prior closure of daycare centers if the incidence rate exceeds 200. Restricted regular operation with a reduction of ten hours applies nationwide so that strict group separation is possible." If a change to restricted pandemic operation is to be implemented in municipalities by way of a general decree, this would be possible after consultation with the Ministry of Health. The restricted pandemic operation in daycare centers in NRW was valid until mid-February. It was linked to an urgent appeal to parents to look after their children themselves whenever possible in order to avoid contact.

Stores in Bonn must close

The tightened measures mean that stores in Bonn will have to close. Those shops and stores where customers are currently allowed to enter providing they have a negative test, will be ordered to shut down again. From Monday onwards, only Click+Collect will be possible, i.e. goods will only be allowed to be picked up after orders have been placed. Supermarkets and pharmacies will remain open.

Services where close physical proximity is needed, where a minimum distance of 1.5 meters from the customer cannot be maintained are prohibited. This does not apply to medically necessary services, hairdressing services, non-medical foot care services and commercial passenger transportation. A confirmed negative corona test is still required for hairdressing.

As of Wednesday, access to the city administration building is only possible with a negative test. The mask requirement for viewing the cherry blossoms has also been extended until the end of April.

"There has been a striking increase in cases in recent days," Dörner said. The city expects the incidence rate to rise even further in the coming days and says the pattern of infections remains scattered. It is clear to Dörner that the incidence rate will climb above 200 and new measures will be put in place by the state. The object is to get an early start. "I ask the people of Bonn for their understanding in this renewed tightening of the rules, even if I am aware of what this means especially for parents, children and adolescents as well as for the retail trade. But the numbers of new infections are rising sharply, and the mutations are spreading very quickly, especially in families," Dörner said.

For the time being, however, there will be no curfew in Bonn - unlike in Cologne. Bonn does not believe a curfew would have much effect.

(Orig. text: Sebastian Fink, Lisa Inhoffen -​ Translation: ck​)