Bonn Vaccinated, recovered or tested: The office of public order will be carrying out random checks at the Bonn Christmas market this year. The city is also requiring that organizers of the St. Martin's processions and other outdoor events ensure compliance with the 3G rule as well. The only question is: How?
Breaking the 3G rule at Bonn's Christmas market will be expensive. As reported, the city wants to restrict access to the Christmas stalls in the city center to only those who have been vaccinated, have recovered from Covid or those who have tested negative. Anyone caught without proof during checks by the public order office will have to pay 150 euros. The 3G rule will also apply to St. Martin's processions and other outdoor events.
"The amount of the fine is comparable to a violation of the mask requirement on public transport or on trains," explains deputy city spokesman Marc Hoffmann. The municipality considers this to be appropriate. However, the state of NRW has not yet specified a fine amount for 3G violations under the current Corona Protection Ordinance. This means that changes are still possible.
The 3G requirement is to apply only to people who are "active visitors" to the Christmas market from November 17 to December 23. Craftsmen, suppliers, employees from stores and pubs, and passers-by on their way to shop are not included. "A distinction is made based on the specific circumstances," Hoffmann says. "If someone is looking at the displays of goods at a Christmas market, buying something or getting food and drinks at the market, they are identifiable as a visitor and must comply with the 3G rule." Those who simply pass through the area between Friedensplatz and Münsterplatz are not required to carry any proof. Signs at the entrances to the city center are to advise visitors of the 3G obligation. The city does not consider it feasible to fence off the Christmas market areas, where experience shows that thousands and thousands of visitors gather. No decision has yet been made about the Christmas markets in the various districts of the city. "However, a 3G regulation seems likely and purposeful there as well," says Hoffmann.
The basis for the random controls is the Corona Protection Ordinance, which mandates the 3G rule with an incidence rate starting at 35 for outdoor events with more than 2,500 people. As well, the city also says that a mask must be worn. Officers from the city's public order service and Bonn police are to ask visitors without 3G proof to leave the Christmas market grounds immediately. The city says it will crackdown on those who do not comply: "The city's officers can issue and enforce such expulsions on the basis of the Regulatory Authorities Act in conjunction with the Police Act," emphasizes deputy spokesman Hoffmann.
Implementation of 3G rule for other events still unclear
The City Marketing Bonn association believes the Christmas market concept is a good one. "We assume that the city will implement this rule prudently and conscientiously," emphasizes Managing Director Maike Reinhardt. However, the community of businesses and restaurateurs in the city center is still puzzled about how to enforce the 3G rule on Münsterplatz from October 8 to 10. As part of a Beethoven rally scheduled for that weekend, there will be food vendors - which is expected to attract additional visitors, especially because stores will be open that Sunday. Unlike the Christmas market, however, it is not the city that is the organizer, but the association. And according to the press office, the respective organizer must ensure that visitors are vaccinated, tested or recovered. What remains is the question of how this can be enforced in public places without official authority.
It isn’t only the organizers of the St. Martin's processions who are faced with this challenge, carnival event organizers also have this problem. It is still unclear whether or not the Marktplatz will be fenced off at the carnival kickoff on November 11 so that people can be checked upon entry. Talks between the city and Bonn's festivities committee are still underway. "The opening event can take place in any case," assures committee spokesman Simon Schmid. Everything else is to be clarified in the next days.
(Orig. text: Andreas Baumann / Translation: Carol Kloeppel)