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Tougher Covid restrictions: How Bonn residents are coping with Incidence Level 2

Tougher Covid restrictions : How Bonn residents are coping with Incidence Level 2

The first day with Incidence Level 2 in Bonn has caused some confusion when it comes to the stricter rules now in place. But it also shows that many people are now vaccinated. Meanwhile, event organizers feel confident that the state of NRW will relax the Corona Protection Ordinance in the coming week.

"Ticket please": Sabine Nehrkorn has not lost her sense of humor, even if Incidence Level 2 now requires extra work from the owner of the Nolden Inn in Endenich. Since Friday, all the customers who want to eat inside have to be checked to see whether they are vaccinated, recovered or tested. She finds that most of them have already been immunized. The restaurateur is glad that Level 3 has been suspended: because the seven-day incidence has taken a giant leap in Bonn and is now at 72.5.

At the Nolden Inn, everything has gone smoothly so far. In the morning, Nehrkorn already posted the rules at the entrance. "I have them laminated, they are always handy," she says. One guest sat down at the outdoor terrace. He didn't want to get vaccinated, she says. And what if it gets too cold outside? "Then that customer picks up the food to go." She's a little concerned about the evening: three bowling lanes are rented out. She doesn’t know whether all the bowlers are aware that the stricter rules apply again - the so-called “3G” for the German words getestet, geimpft, genesen (tested, vaccinated, recovered).

In front of the Römerbad, resentment spreads on Friday at midday. Some people didn't know that they needed a negative test to get in. Karl (22), on the other hand, can look forward to jumping into the cool water. The student has been vaccinated. However, he finds the registration process time-consuming. The young man says he anticipated the rising incidence rates. "It's pretty lousy for us as students, because then we have to keep doing everything online."

In the city center, you don't notice at first glance that stricter Covid rules are in effect again. At lunchtime, only a few Ordnungsamt (public service) officers can be seen. A group of students has made themselves comfortable on the lawn in the courtyard garden. They have just completed a language course. "You were only allowed to attend with a negative test, even the vaccinated ones," reports Paul Hector (21). The word had obviously not yet got around to all the students. "There were fewer of us than usual." Like Paul, everyone else there had already received their Covid-19 vaccination. The students can't quite understand the additional testing requirement. Some haven't even seen the inside of the university yet.

From now on, masks are compulsory again, not only on buses and trains, but also at bus stops. "This is nothing new for our passengers, they already know that they have to adapt to it for a longer period of time," says Veronika John, spokeswoman for Stadtwerke Bonn. Recently, there has been no more major resistance to the regulations. "We are seeking dialogue and use tact and sensitivity if someone is not wearing a mask," she says. In the past, many passengers put on their masks at the stop anyway.

Incidence level has little impact on major events

The new incidence level also formally imposes restrictions on major events such as the KunstRasen and the Kulturgarten am Römerbad. For example, only 500 tested persons are allowed to enter. Vaccinated and recovered people are not counted. "We have done our own counts and forecasts, most likely there will be no problems," says Kulturgarten co-organizer Julian Reininger. According to him, about 70 percent of the visitors are immunized or recovered, and about 3,000 people are allowed on the grounds. The hygiene concept also seems to be working: So far, there have been no incidents of infection, he said. "If that were the case, the health department would contact us and check on the personalized seating," Reininger explains. The mask requirement outside the assigned seating was already in effect in Level 1; it was only suspended at Incidence Level 0. Reininger, like his organizer colleague Sandro Heinemann, who wants to hold the Panama Open Air Festival in the Rheinaue in early September, assumes that the state of North Rhine-Westphalia will relax the Corona Protection Ordinance in the coming week. Heinemann wants to let 5,000 people per day attend, which is unproblematic from his point of view. He also asks about vaccination or recovery status via the booking system. Of the 3,000 tickets sold so far, just under 1,700 have already filled out their tickets with all the necessary data, he said. "About 1,500 are vaccinated or recovered, which even surprised us," says Heinemann.

He feels confident that the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, similar to Baden-Württemberg, will relax the Covid rules after August 19, when the current ordinance expires. In that state, for example, there are no longer any restrictions on private parties. Wherever visitors have close physical contact at large events, they will probably have to present a negative PCR test if they are not vaccinated. Even in clubs, there will no longer be a limit on the number of people. "The future regulations will be issued by the state in a new Corona Protection Ordinance based on the Minister Presidents' Conference resolutions. As of today, they have not yet been determined, nor the date of publication, but they are currently being drawn up and coordinated," a spokesman for the NRW Ministry of Health announced.

City believes people returning from vacations are causing numbers to rise

An inquiry to the city of Bonn about the reasons for the jump in the incidence rate, produced the following response: "The main share of new infections is caused by travelers returning from vacation areas and home countries." In addition, the compulsory testing of unvaccinated persons after more than five days of vacation plays a role. This means that infections are detected in symptom-free persons. Because the spreading delta variant is more infectious, those returning from travel infect more people much more easily and, for example, in the home environment. Beyond that, he said, no major areas of infection stand out - not even among those helping flood victims in the Ahr Valley or through concerts or other events.

(Orig. text: Lisa Inhoffen, Nicolas Ottersbach, Benjamin Westhoff; Translation: ck)