1. GA-English

Pedestrians in the city of Bonn adhere to mask obligation

„With face mask only, of course" : The majority of Bonner adhere to the mask obligation

As in the whole of NRW, in Bonn and the Rhein-Sieg-Kreis, too, the compulsory wearing of masks came into force on Monday. The first interim impressions of bus drivers and business people is largely positive.

On Monday morning, the world was no longer quite in order for many people in Bonn, and indeed their contemporaries throughout Germany, as they had to get used to a new picture on their way to work at seven in the morning: Almost everyone who got on the bus or train wore a protective mask. Most of them were self-made. Only a few had merely pulled a scarf over their face.

Sabrina Viel (24) has been wearing a protective mask for 14 days in public places and when shopping, she says. Her eyes let on that she is in a good mood, her smile remains hidden under her colourful self-stitched mask. The optician is about to pick up her older brother at the bus and spend the day with him. It is her day off, otherwise she works regularly in her optician's shop again. "Only with a face mask, of course." Brother Sebastian is just getting off the bus, he too is wearing a mask - as is obligatory since this Monday. He wears the mask with great pride. "I got it from my first concert visit in Wacken," he says, pointing to the logo of the legendary music festival in the town of Wacken in Schleswig-Holstein, which, like so many major events, will be cancelled this year. "Back then, we were given these as protection against the dust," recalls Sebastian Viel.

Less cheerful than these siblings is Marlies Rüth that morning. The pensioner is on the 601 line and is on her way to Poppelsdorf. "I can hardly breathe underneath it," admits the elderly lady, although she does recognise the need to wear it, she shouts back when getting off - obviously happy to be out in the fresh air again. A young woman, who does not want to be named, tells the GA that she has just asked two passengers without masks to put on their face protection. They apologised immediately and pulled scarves over their faces. "They didn't think twice about it."

"Much less traffic on the roads"

Coronavirus: What is prohibited and what is allowed?

Patrick Greis, who is driving the SWB bus to the university hospitals this morning, has already seen some people get on without a mask. "But I haven't had to intervene until now. Either they put their masks on immediately or other people asked them to do so," he says, describing the situation. "I think it's great how much solidarity most passengers show at the moment and how friendly they are to us," he says. Normally, he often has to take criticism when he is late with the bus. But that hardly ever happens in these Corona days. "There's much less traffic on the roads," he says with a smile. Every now and then he presses the button for the new automatic announcement in his bus, where a friendly female voice points out that masks are compulsory.

Since Monday, this has also been compulsory in all shops. It even applies to the market in downtown Bonn - and everyone obviously observes it this morning. Market manager Inge Hankammer has much more to do with the fact that passers-by only eat the snacks they buy at the market stalls at a sufficient distance - as is also mandatory. "We had quite a few problems there on Saturday," she knows from her colleague on duty.

The fashion boutiques, which have been open again for a few days, are quiet. "I'm sure it's not because of the mask duty," says a saleswoman. "In the home office you don't need so many new clothes anymore."

This is how people in the Rhein-Sieg-Kreis experienced the start of the mask duty

In Alfter, store manager Omar Akajjoua and his colleague Christina Schuldt took position and watched the customers entering in the morning. Anyone who does not have a mask with them can take one of the disposable covers provided. One of them was Klaus Sistig, who reluctantly accepted the paper mask handed to him. The senior from Alfter describes the new rule as "nonsense. It works like a cramp. If you get Corona, it's like this." For most other customers the prescribed wearing of masks is a matter of course. "This not only protects us from infection, but also others," says Gabriele Springer. Schuldt also sees the wearing of masks for hours as a burden. "Breathing under the mask is simply difficult. And with spectacle wearers, the constant fogging up of the lenses is an added problem."

Yvonne Tam, owner of the flower house La Fleur at Herrenwingert, considers the new commitment to be exhausting but meaningful. "It should have been introduced from the beginning. Whether wearing masks is of any use now is a question." Jörg Gütelhöfer, head of the orthopaedic shoe technology department at Königstraße in Bornheim, sees the wearing of face masks as a generally positive development - especially for older people. He has purchased around 20 fabric masks for his 30 employees - most of whom had already made private provisions - in his four branches. "By 7 a.m. in the morning, everything was gone. This was also due to the short-term introduction. It should have been organized differently, with more lead time.

In Meckenheim, Willi Wittges-Stoelben praises customers on the main street for their exemplary behaviour. The chairman of the Meckenheim association and head of Yonelli Moden has equipped himself and his staff with numerous masks that can be hot washed. He has provided for his customers with around 100 white-green masks. Disinfectants, disposable gloves and towels are also available. "If we want to keep the business open, we cannot afford a relapse in the infection figures. Therefore, I think this new regulation is a good thing." He reopened his shop at the beginning of last week. And Wittges-Stoelben is more than satisfied. "We have better sales than at the same time last year. You can see that people are catching up." He said that he would "very probably not be able to make up for the loss due to the closure of several weeks“.

Dorothee Ressel of the second-hand boutique on Münstereifeler Straße in Rheinbach has noted a distinctly reserved buying behaviour since the reopening. She has already seen colourful and funny masks among her customers. "They could even become a fashion hype," says the businesswoman. Her mask made of blue fabric goes perfectly with her jeans and beige sweater. "One should always wear the masks matching the corresponding clothes.“

Ruth Gelbe also observed fewer customers in her fashion store on Monday. "Most people don't want to try on clothes with masks on. They find it too difficult." Gelbe hopes for better times when people have become accustomed to their masks.

Original text: Lisa Inhoffen and Susanne Träupmann

Translation: Mareike Graepel