New catalog of corona rules What is now prohibited and what is allowed in NRW

Düsseldorf · Hardly any area of life remains unaffected by the corona crisis. The state government has published an extensive new catalog of regulations that governs everyday life in NRW. Here is the overview, including information about the extension of “emergency childcare” in daycare facilities and kindergartens.

 A mother and her children ringing the doorbell at a kindergarten.

A mother and her children ringing the doorbell at a kindergarten.

Foto: dpa/Uwe Zucchi

An extension of “emergency care” in daycare centers/kindergartens (Kitas) and schools is intended to make the life of many families easier during the corona crisis. The North Rhine-Westphalian state government published new regulations in Düsseldorf on Friday, as well as catalogs with hefty fines for violations. "Distancing and protective measures will continue to be the yardstick and rule of our everyday lives," stated Minister President Armin Laschet (CDU).


In general, all public schools, daycare centers and kindergartens must initially remain closed until May 3. Beginning on Thursday, however, there is an exception for exam candidates preparing to leave secondary school, along with those pupils leaving primary school. Besides that, “emergency care” is provided generally for children in grades 1 to 6 and Kitas in the event that their parents work in occupations that are considered essential and who have no other private childcare options.


For this purpose, essential occupations have so far included those from ten sectors which are concerned with maintaining health care, energy, water and food supplies or working in public administration. Now this has been extended to 29 broadly defined sectors and explained in detail. Employees of gas stations, grocery stores, drugstores and care providers, among others, are now explicitly listed. Manufacturers of hygiene, disinfection products and soaps are also essential, as are waste disposal companies and harvest workers, bankers and notaries.


New in the list are also "persons who have been activated or reactivated to strengthen the health care and nursing sector", including trainees for medical-technical or bio-technical assistant positions as well as students of biology, biochemistry, biophysics, veterinary medicine and chemistry from the bachelor's degree onwards.


NRW wants to expand “emergency care” in kindergartens to ten percent of children - from the current level of 2.4 to 4.7 percent of all children in Kitas and daycares. The federal and state governments could not agree on unified rules for “emergency care” on Friday. For the period after May 3, a concept for the gradual re-opening of day care is to be developed together with experts.


The 14-day domestic quarantine obligation for travelers returning to Germany from abroad continues to apply. Exceptions apply to commuters and various professional groups such as truck drivers, pilots or medical staff. However, NRW now stipulates that these exempt groups may not enter hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers and similar facilities within 14 days of their return. Exceptions apply to medical personnel.


Driving schools may continue to offer their services subject to safety precautions and following physical distancing guidelines. However, during the behind-the-wheel driving lessons, a minimum distance of 1.5 meters between persons cannot and need not be observed.


According to the regulations, "all sports activities on and in all public and private sports facilities and all meetings in sports clubs" are prohibited. Playgrounds and football pitches, swimming pools and fitness studios, among other things, must remain closed.


"Grocery stores, weekly farmers' markets, pick-up and delivery services and wholesale stores may, in addition to the existing statutory provisions, open from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays and public holidays," the regulation states. "This does not apply to May 1." Pharmacies may generally open on Sundays and public holidays.


Restaurants, pubs, snack bars, cafeterias, canteens, pubs, ice cream shops and cafés and other eating establishments are not allowed to open to visitors for the time being. They are allowed to provide food and beverages (takeout) if hygiene regulations and minimum distances are observed and queues can be avoided. The consumption of food is prohibited within 50- meters of the eating establishments and shops or kiosks where the goods were purchased.


Anyone who "intentionally or negligently" violates essential provisions of the Corona Protection Ordinance (Coronaschutzverordnung) and organizes an illegal event or takes part in such events or gatherings may be punished with up to five years imprisonment.


Infringements can be punished with fines of up to 25,000 euros in accordance with the Infection Protection Act (Infektionsschutzgesetz). Accordingly, it is unlawful conduct if someone deliberately or negligently pays an unauthorized visit to a medical or health care facility, operates facilities that do not comply with the required standards of hygiene, minimum physical distances and access regulations, offers or provides overnight accommodation for tourists or is "involved in a picnic or barbecue in a public place or public facility". The Corona Protection Ordinance (Coronaschutzverordnung), which is valid until May 3, lists a total of 30 offenses.

(Orig. text: Bettina Grönewald, dpa, Translation: ck)

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