Bonn Bonn. Shops with a sales area of up to 800 square metres are allowed to reopen on Monday and the city of Bonn has already announced controls. The retail association and the German Hotel and Restaurant Association, however, are calling for a further relaxation of the restrictions.
From Monday, shops with a sales area of up to 800 square metres will be allowed to reopen in Bonn. As already announced, federal and state governments had agreed to this on Wednesday. “This is a positive signal for people and for trade”, said Bonn Mayor Ashok Sridharan at a press conference on Thursday. Starting next week, the security services will carry out random checks to ensure that distances are observed and that not too many people are let into the shops. The mayor emphasised, however, that it is the responsibility of shop operators to comply with the regulations.
Municipal archives and libraries will remain closed until further notice. In the meantime, holders of a reader pass can borrow digital media. According to the federal government, however, university libraries may reopen. University spokesman Andreas Archut explained that the university will make a statement in the coming days as to when its approximately 60 libraries will reopen. Lectures for students will begin again from Monday, via digital media.
Hubertus Hille, general manager of the Bonn/Rhein-Sieg Chamber of Industry and Commerce, was pleased about the expected relaxation: “Thank God everthing is starting again.” He expressed understanding that only a fraction of shops could return to business. Even if “the distinction between those that can and cannot not seems arbitrary”, he said that the main point was that the inner cities were not too crowded. Further shop openings should follow soon, Hille said, because the danger of insolvencies was increasing with every day of closure. This applies to entire areas, such as restaurant trade. Hille said “I think reopening could be organised here, if the rules of distance are observed.”
Bonn's retail trade is “absolutely happy”, reported Maike Reinhardt from the City-Marketing Association. They are currently compiling a list of which shops will open on Monday. “What we are waiting for, however, are clear guidelines as to how we are allowed to open again, for example with what customer restrictions and protective measures.” Jannis Vassiliou, Chairman of the Bonn Rhein-Sieg Euskirchen Retail Association, said: “For increased protection of the population, I would have liked the government to introduce compulsory masks. Masks are a simple protection for individuals, but also for everyone around them”.
Vassiliou called for solutions for larger shops and restaurants to be thought about. “It is essential for shops greater than 800 square metres in area and for restaurants, that hygiene measures are thought through as quickly as possible, to enable them to reopen”.
Sridharan explained that the decision to relax restrictions was still very recent. Detailed consultations will follow via telephone conferences with the state. As of Thursday, the city is aware of 550 confirmed cases of coronavirus: 328 patients have recovered. 218 people are seriously ill, four people have died and 1,067 people are currently still in quarantine.
(Original text: Philipp Königs and Nicolas Ottersbach, translation John Chandler)