Bonn With the increase in COVID infections, Bonn is moving towards the next level of the NRW Corona Protection Ordinance. This would mean added restrictions in everyday life. The restaurant industry would again have to collect data and rely on patrons to do their part.
Bonn seems to be moving in an unwanted direction when it comes to COVID cases. On Monday, the seven-day incidence was 36.1 for the second day in a row - and thus also the second day where it stayed above 35. Should it remain above 35 for another six days, the next level of the NRW Corona Protection Ordinance would come back into effect, with stricter rules. Gastronomy and certain recreational facilities would once again be subject to tighter regulations. And contact restrictions would again apply to certain meetings in public spaces.
But for now, city officials are trying in vain to find possible clues for this unwelcome development. "There are no noticeable hotspots or specific outbreaks," says city spokeswoman Barbara Löcherbach. "One reason could be travelers returning who bring the infection with them. That's why mandatory testing of inbound travelers was introduced." According to the North Rhine-Westphalia State Center for Health (Landeszentrum Gesundheit NRW), it is mainly people in the 20 to 39 age group who have been infected in Bonn so far, with nearly an equal number of women and men. As everywhere else in the country, most new infections have been confirmed as the so-called Delta variant of the virus.
Return to restrictions in everyday life possible
Returning back to incidence level 2 would possibly result in restrictions for everyday life again - people who are not fully vaccinated or who have not recovered from a COVID 19 infection would only be allowed to meet in groups of a maximum of three households. Meetings of up to ten tested people would be possible from any number of households. In outdoor pools, at incidence level 2, there would again be a requirement to test negative before jumping into the pool. However, there would be no restrictions for vaccinated and recovered persons.
Restaurants reacted with relief and joy in June when they were able to open again - and closures are not being threatened with this latest development. Still, they are fearing a worsening of the conditions. "Of course, we are following the latest development with concern," says Salah Cheko, managing director of the "Havanna" in Poppelsdorf. Like the rest of the industry, he is betting on a possible adjustment of the incidence levels: "The increments are too narrow."
After all, he says on behalf of many restaurateurs, the state government has temporarily suspended incidence level 3 until August 19. Cheko doesn't think that goes far enough. "I would welcome it if the proposal of Health Minister Jens Spahn becomes socially acceptable. Namely, that incidence 200 is the new 50." As for giving privileges to the vaccinated and recovered: "I would welcome it, because then there would be security for the clientele."
Collection of contact data causes extra work
Since the level 1 rules came into effect, Cheko and his colleagues in the industry have once again had to collect contact information from guests. "In our case, this is done by logging in via smartphone or filling out the good old piece of paper," he says, describing the common options. This task demands extra time and thus creates extra personnel costs. "We can only appeal to everyone who enjoys what the restaurant industry has to offer: be honest with the data, follow the rules. It helps the whole industry."
(Orig. text: Alexander Barth, Translation: Carol Kloeppel)