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GA English on Sunday: News in Brief from Bonn and the region

GA English on Sunday : News in Brief from Bonn and the region

Two new requirements in force for mask wearing in NRW, Bonn SPD puts forward Bundestag candidate for elections, court orders corona protest organiser to record participants’ details and Valentine’s flowers during lockdown - here is our news in brief on Sunday.

Stricter rules for mask wearing in NRW

Two new requirements in force for mask wearing in NRW, Bonn SPD puts forward Bundestag candidate for elections, court orders corona protest organiser to record participants’ details and Valentine’s flowers during lockdown - here is our news in brief on Sunday.

Stricter rules for mask wearing in NRW

NRW. The corona protection regulations in North Rhine-Westphalia, which were in force until this Sunday, have been extended by one week, up to 21st February. The rules remain unchanged, except for two points. On Saturday evening, the Ministry of Labour, Health and Social Affairs announced the following adjustments which have been made for legal reasons: “The Higher Administrative Court ensures judicature on the clearer demarcation of the area in which masks are to be worn in the vicinity of retail stores. In future, the mask requirement shall apply in all cases at a distance of ten metres from the store entrance.”

In light of the federal changes, the Corona Care Ordinance has also been amended for health and safety at work. Therefore, it is now mandatory for school teachers and staff at care facilities to wear a medical (i.e. surgical) mask.

(Original text: ga/dpa/epd)

SPD in Bonn puts forward Bundestag candidate

Jessica Rosenthal is running for the Bonn Social Democrats in the upcoming Bundestag elections. At the party’s general meeting – which, due to the corona pandemic, was held as a hybrid event with subsequent ballot box elections at four locations in the city - the chairperson of the Bonn SPD and of the federal Juso (young socialists) was elected as Bundestag candidate with a clear lead over her competitor Stefan Gsänger.

"I am running to give Bonn a voice in Berlin again that will be heard," said Rosenthal following her election. "Together with the members of the Bonn SPD, I will fight for the direct mandate in Bonn and for a strong social democracy." Earlier in her speech, the 28-year-old school teacher had campaigned for more equal opportunities in Bonn. "Bonn is a city with two faces. Many people are doing well here, but there are still too many children left behind. I want to fight to create equal opportunities for all with the best education - regardless of the parents' background or wallet."

In the debate that followed, numerous members spoke out in favour of Rosenthal, including long-time Bonn MP Ulrich Kelber. "Bonn needs a strong voice in Berlin again and Jessica Rosenthal is exactly the right person for this office," said Kelber. Enrico Liedtke, who is joint chairperson of the Bonn SPD, was also pleased with the vote. "With Jessica Rosenthal, a strong, young woman is standing for election on our behalf who can make herself heard in Berlin."

(Original text: wrm)

Corona protestor required by law to record demo participants’ details

The Administrative Court in Cologne has made a decision in expedited proceedings against the organiser of the corona demonstration on Saturday at the Münsterplatz. The organiser is required to record, and make available if necessary, the data of all participants for possible contact tracing by the health authorities.

The demo organiser had tried to legally defend himself against such a requirement by the city. At a demonstration it is not only mandatory to wear a mask and adhere to social distancing rules, but all those attending must enter their name, address and telephone number in an appropriate list. According to the Corona Protection Ordinance, this requirement applies to all meetings with 100 or more participants or according to the principle of proportionality.

The Corona Protection Ordinance stipulates that complete traceability must be guaranteed for larger gatherings. In the case of registered demonstrations, the organiser is responsible for this. This is different to what happened, for example, on a similar march on the Marktplatz at the beginning of the week. Since the activists had arranged a "walk through the city" on social media and no demonstration had been registered, the city's public order service, with the support of the police, took down the participants’ details for possible tracing.

"The city administration considers it vital to maintain the traceability of participants in large gatherings, especially if it is to be expected that the hygiene requirements of the Corona Protection Ordinance will not be observed," argues Marc Hoffmann from the city’s press office. "The order of the City of Bonn is binding on the organiser this Saturday," confirmed Judge Pierre Becker-Rosenfelder of the Administrative Court in Cologne in response to a GA inquiry, after the chamber had dismissed the complaint. Furthermore, the order is to be implemented immediately, even if the claimant appeals.

Police and the public order authorities will monitor compliance with the rules at similar gatherings, as they have done several times this week. According to the police, the organisers have registered their protest rally for several weekends to come. Until mid-March, the activists want to draw attention to their demands several times in the city. Under the motto “Soziale Zukunft für und mit uns Bürger” ("Social future for and with us citizens"), the demonstration will start at 2pm on Münsterplatz. Beforehand, around 11am, the organisers will set up a stand to draw attention to their demands for an end to the lockdown.

(Original text: Gabriele Immenkeppel)

Valentine’s Day flowers in lockdown

Florist Peter Bosse has been running his colourful flower stand next to the former Karstadt building in the city centre for 45 years. Ever since the shops closed due to lockdown, he has been missing out on passing customers. Only a third of the usual number now come to his stand, and even less over the past few days due to the cold, he explains. But the situation is somewhat different in the neighbourhoods near to the city centre. Here, people remain loyal to their local florists and are happy to still be able to buy flowers. However, the flower sellers do not expect much business from Valentine's Day.

All florists are suffering: if they are not missing out on walk-in customers, events such as weddings or other celebrations are not taking place with big orders for flowers. But the mood in the flower shops in Bonn's districts is not too bad. “It's amazing how many people now buy flowers for themselves,” says Manuela Deimann, owner of the shop Blumen&Deko in Kessenich's Pützstraße. Susanne Komp, who runs the flower shop Komp Floristik in Endenicher Straße with her husband, often hears that her customers want to make their homes beautiful in lockdown. "People used to buy flowers to give away, but now they are buying them to do something good for themselves," she says. It is not only the flowers that attract customers to the florist shops. One of the florists at the Wintergarten shop in Bonn's Talweg reports that many customers from the local neighbourhood come in for a bit of variety and to chat to the florists.

Komp, Deimann and the Südstadt Wintergarten are also open on Sunday - Valentine's Day. But it is hard for the florists to predict what business will be like this year. Manuela Deimann can imagine that the demand for Valentine flowers will increase as couples cannot go out to dinner or for other celebrations. But these florists are not fans of Valentine’s Day. This is because there are a lot of complaints about the prices. Peter Bosse explains, “flower prices rise sharply on the wholesale market and then customers complain that we have made the roses more expensive.” The high prices also make it difficult for florists to buy. "If I buy too much, I have to throw a lot away, if I buy too little, I get annoyed," says Susanne Komp. She believes that if Valentine's Day were on a weekday this year, business would definitely be better, because people would buy a little something for their colleagues on the way to work or for their loved ones on the way home. Peter Bosse knows that people probably will not bother to come to him in the city centre for a bouquet. “They might go to the supermarket or the florist around the corner,” he says.

(Original text: Sofia Grillo)

(Translations: Caroline Kusch)