Bonn The coronavirus pandemic has NRW firmly in its grip. Many cities and municipalities are applying the so-called “emergency brake”. But there are some exceptions at Easter. We explain which rules are in effect.
Initial plans for a shutdown over Easter to slow the coronavirus pandemic, were later reversed. Meanwhile, Easter holidays have been in effect in North Rhine-Westphalia since Monday. In many cities and municipalities, the “emergency brake” is being applied due to high incidence rates. But in some areas there are exceptions, and one can still go to a hair salon with a negative test in hand. Many people are asking the following questions: Can we have visitors over the holidays? How are church services celebrated? Are museums open?
Private gatherings and Easter visits
In regions with a seven-day incidence rate above 100, people from one household are only allowed to meet with one other person in public spaces. This rule will be softened for the Easter weekend: from Maundy Thursday to Easter Monday (April 1-5), private gatherings are allowed with a maximum of five people from two households, regardless of the local incidence rate. This is according to the Corona protection order published Friday. Couples who do not live together are considered one household. Children 14 and younger are exempt from the count.
Church services and other religious gatherings are permitted. The local churches and religious communities will decide for themselves whether there will be in-person services. The churches in Bonn and the region have varying plans for celebrating Easter this year. However, strict hygiene requirements still apply. According to the Corona Protection Ordinance, masks are compulsory at all places of worship during services and other gatherings.
The NRW Ministry of the Environment has banned Easter bonfires because of the pandemic. By definition, Easter bonfires fall under events and gatherings.
With the reversal of the Easter shutdown, supermarkets will be open as usual on Maundy Thursday as well as on Holy Saturday (April 3). But with the “emergency brake” coming into effect, it means that openings of more stores will be reversed unless there is an exemption. Shopping by appointment ("click and meet") is no longer allowed in places where the “emergency brake” is in effect.
The city of Bonn is keeping stores open for three consecutive days despite a seven-day incidence rate of more than 100. The Ministry of Health approved the request for more openings with the testing option because the city of Bonn could prove that it had a good enough testing infrastructure for free resident testing. Since Wednesday, in-store purchases and visits to hair salons in Bonn are only permitted if customers present a negative rapid test from that day.
The Ministry of Labor, Health and Social Affairs of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia (MAGS) imposed the so-called “emergency brake” on Tuesday afternoon for the Rhine-Sieg district starting Maundy Thursday, April 1. But there will also be a test option in the Rhine-Sieg district.
Zoos, animal parks and museums
Even though the “emergency brake” is in effect in NRW, exceptions apply in many cities and municipalities. Sometimes zoos, animal parks and museums will allow visitors on Thursday and Saturday with a negative test - if appointments are booked in advance and traceability is ensured.
Concerts and performances in theaters, opera houses, concert halls, movie theaters and other public or private cultural facilities are still prohibited.
There are no exceptions for restaurants at Easter. Cafes, restaurants and bars will remain closed for outdoor dining in NRW. Pick-up and food delivery remain permitted. However, the consumption of food and beverages is prohibited within a radius of 50 meters of the eating establishment.
Travel and excursions
Travel involving overnight stays in hotels, vacation accommodations or camping is also prohibited during Easter. Overnight stays are still only permitted in special cases, such as when traveling on business. In principle, nothing stands in the way of an Easter visit to family, provided that the maximum of five people from two households come together. Day trips are also permitted - even if the federal and state governments advise against them.
(Orig. text: GA / Translation: ck)