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Hotspot at the Rhine during the pandemic: Crowds of people flock to the Bonner Bogen

Hotspot at the Rhine during the pandemic : Crowds of people flock to the Bonner Bogen

The Bonner Bogen is a popular destination for walkers and cyclists. Restaurants, cafés and food stands provide visitors with snacks and beverages. This creates hotspots that are not actually supposed to be there at the moment.

The Bonner Bogen is a popular place for walkers and bikers. Restaurants, cafés and food stands, such as the Kaffeerad, offer visitors food and drinks on site. Since the outdoor dining areas of restaurants are currently closed, people shift to the nearby seating and grassy areas. At times it gets too crowded on the stairs in front of the Kameha Grand Hotel.

When the weather is nice, hotelier Andreas Graeber-Stuch notices that the promenade is always busy: "The Bonner Bogen is very popular, especially for walkers and cyclists, because we have a beautiful view of the Rhine here." Because of the Corona Protection Ordinance, the hotel currently offers people take-out service only. "We are very mindful that the hygiene rules be followed at our food stand," says Graeber-Stuch. He says they have put up signs and markings to direct people. Not far from the stand are the steps that offer a view of the Rhine. Last weekend, it got crowded there at times. Asked about this, Graeber-Stuch says the stairs are a public area. "That's where our guests mix with those from Rohmühle and L'Osteria." He says you can tell by the boxes of pizza and the different cups that guests carry.

Seating rows are assigned for guests

The Corona Protection Ordinance stipulates that food and beverages may not be consumed until 50 meters away from the food stand. The rows of seating assigned for his guests are at a "regulation distance" from the stand, Graeber-Stuch points out. "The lower stair section is outside the regulated area and can be used by our guests." He adds that the seating arrangements have also been coordinated with the Ordnungsamt (Public Order Service). "We approached the Ordnungsamt because we have a great interest in ensuring that the rules are observed." But the hotelier does not want to judge whether people are social distancing properly on the steps. "That is not our task," he says and refers to the city.

When asked, Kristina Buchmiller from the City Press Office says that the Bonner Bogen has not been a particular focus so far. "However, the area is also patrolled as part of the regular monitoring of the riverbank on the right side of the Rhine and Rheinaue park." Regular checks are also carried out in the Old Town and city center, at the banks of the Rhine, Im Hofgarten, Am alten Zoll, in Poppelsdorfer Allee, in Rheinaue park and other parks and green spaces, as well as on school grounds, playgrounds and sports fields. According to the press office, since March 2020, a total of 5,420 notices were written for violations of the Corona Protection regulations. And a total of 3,950 fines were issued.

Frankenbadplatz is an equally popular meeting place

In the Old Town, Frankenbadplatz is a popular meeting place for many people, observes Ragnar Fleischmann. The Nyx proprietor regularly stands in front of his stand and makes sure that his guests observe the corona restrictions. "When the sun is shining, people sit on blankets and benches. The safety distances cannot always be maintained due to space constraints," he says. But it is not drastic, he says, because the visitors are "evenly" distributed over the area. "Whether 1.50 or 1.20 meters - it is clearly visible that people are inclined to space themselves," says Fleischmann. More frequent checks by the Ordnungsamt would have no effect on people's behavior anyway. "When the Ordnungsamt comes, everyone moves a bit apart, and when they leave again, people move back together.”

He has not yet had to pay any fines, he says. "The Ordnungsamt once wanted to close my stand because they couldn't distinguish our drinks from those being sold at the kiosks." Because: the 50-meter radius also applies to the Nyx stand. "The problem is that in this area, many visitors who come to the Old Town mix with my customers who have bought their beer at the kiosk around the corner," says Fleischmann. He says it is then difficult to explain to the customers that they have to move on - but by and large, they follow the instructions.

Hoping for outdoor dining

Looking ahead to the summer months, Fleischmann is hoping to open up for outdoor dining. "The advantage for everyone involved would be that you would have contact tracing information." It would also help reduce trash accumulation again. Leftovers such as empty pizza boxes and disposable cups have become a problem at Frankenbadplatz in recent months, Fleischmann observes. This means that Nyx employees regularly have to pick up bottles and trash on the square.

At Bonner Bogen, there are also problems with people littering, Graeber-Stuch says. "We have to contend with litter from visitors, picking it up regularly." Bonnorange also empties the trash cans regularly, the hotelier reports.

(Orig. text: Niklas Schröder, Translation: Carol Kloeppel)