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Corona rules starting May 30: What is now prohibited and what is allowed in NRW

Corona rules starting May 30 : What is now prohibited and what is allowed in NRW

Coronavirus restrictions will be further eased in North Rhine-Westphalia. Beginning on Saturday, up to ten people can gather in public spaces. More sports will be allowed again and cinemas will be permitted to open.

Many activities have been put on hold for weeks because of the coronavirus, but starting this weekend, there will be more recreational opportunities for people in North Rhine-Westphalia. Beginning on Saturday, May 30, numerous leisure facilities will be allowed to open their doors again - with strict hygiene rules in place. More people will also be allowed to meet up outdoors. The state government announced a further easing of the corona measures on Wednesday evening.


The contact restrictions are extended until June 29. This was agreed upon by the federal and state governments on Tuesday evening. As was announced on Wednesday evening, May 27, the existing contact restrictions in NRW will be relaxed: previously it was only possible for a family or two households to get together in public spaces, but now a group of up to ten people may meet up in a public space. Prerequisite: The traceability of the persons involved in the gathering is guaranteed.


Cinemas, theaters, opera houses and concert halls may reopen provided that a minimum distance of 1.5 meters between visitors is guaranteed and there is a concept in place for admission into the venue. A special hygiene and infection protection concept is required if more than a quarter of the regular audience capacity or more than 100 people are admitted. If there are fewer people, the hygiene regulations must still be observed.


Groups of people who are allowed to meet within the contact restrictions - i.e. up to ten people - are also allowed to participate in non-contact outdoor sports again. This is not enough for two full soccer teams. Popular and recreational sports competitions are permitted again outside, subject to compliance with a hygiene and infection protection concept. Sports, training and competitions with unavoidable physical contact remain prohibited. Swimming pool lanes (for laps) can open, also those in indoor pools.


Trade fairs and conventions can take place again with protection concepts in place and a limited number of visitors and participants.


Children and teenagers are allowed to go to holiday or summer camps but there will be limits: "Activities involving direct physical contact should be kept to a necessary minimum", according to the hygiene rules. "For larger groups of more than 15 participants, fixed regular groups should be formed" - these are then exempt from the minimum distancing. If they meet up with another group, the distancing rule applies again.

"If the minimum distance cannot be kept because of space limitations or mandatory program-related routines, the wearing of a face mask will be required". Participants need to always have a mask with them just in case. Likewise, supervisors must always have an extra mask on hand in case it is needed. "The occupancy of rooms/ tents may only be half the maximum capacity and the minimum distance between beds/mats or similar must be observed.”


The new version of the Corona Protection Ordinance published on May 19 states: "Civil weddings, including the meeting directly at the place of the wedding, are also permitted with guests. Prerequisite: minimum distancing of 1.5 meters - unless there are (only) two families or households. And "in particular, direct contact (shaking hands, hugging, etc.)" of the guests must be avoided according to the regulation - both during the greeting and the congratulations: "In compliance with this regulation, it applies to both the wedding ceremony and the meeting directly at the place of the wedding.”


Tattoo and piercing studios may also reopen. The same hygiene requirements apply there, including mouth-and-nose protection and - for facial treatments - special masks, goggles or shields for the service providers.


As the state government announced via Twitter, picnics are also allowed again. Grilling/barbecuing in the parks remains prohibited.


Also included in the Corona Protection Ordinance: rules for choir practice, which was previously banned. Since May 20, several singers have been allowed to practice together again in opera houses or concert halls. But: If they stand next to each other, the singers must keep a distance of three meters apart. If they stand in several rows, things become even more complicated: here, 6 meters distance in „Ausstoßrichtung“ (“the direction of discharge”) is required. Furthermore, "a room size accommodating at least ten square meters per person must be provided.”


Restaurants, cafés and pubs with seating have been allowed to open indoors and outdoors since May 11. The prerequisite is 1.5 meters between tables, measured from backrest to backrest. Restaurants and bars must register their guests by name. There are no limits on the number of people that can be seated, but the minimum distance between the tables should automatically limit the number of guests. There are no restrictions on opening hours or the length of stay. Bars, discos and other gastronomic establishments without seating must remain closed. Buffets are still prohibited.

In addition to the already familiar rules, the "Hygiene and Infection Standards" published on May 17 include the possibility of giving guests a face mask - when they are not sitting at their table. This allows the minimum distance to other tables to be kept when visiting the restroom. Spice shakers and toothpicks must not be left in the open on the table. If (salt and pepper) shakers are handed out, they have to be wiped off after use - just like menus.


Since May 11, vacation rentals and camping sites may also be used again for tourist purposes under certain conditions. Leisure parks can open, and excursion boats, bicycle and boat rentals are all allowed. Hotels may reopen after May 18. "Employees who have direct contact with guests must wear face masks." Room cleaning "for shorter stays" should not be done every day but only after departure. Everything in the room - for example magazines or pens - must be cleaned at least after each changeover of guests.

Also, the worldwide travel warning for tourists is to be lifted for 31 European countries beginning June 15, if further developments in the COVID-19 pandemic allow it. Specifically, this concerns travel to European Union member states, to Schengen-associated states and to the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland.


Residents of senior citizen and nursing homes have been allowed to have visitors again under strict conditions since May 10. According to the plans of NRW Health Minister Karl-Josef Laumann, the visits could take place in separate areas or outside. Visitors wearing protective clothing may also enter and visit bedridden persons in their rooms. Visits of up to two persons in each room are possible. Only one person is allowed directly into a resident's room. The duration of the visit is limited to a maximum of two hours per visit and per day. The usual rules of hygiene also apply, such as wearing masks and using disinfectants.


Individual hospitals have been able to allow visits again since May 11th , as far as they consider this appropriate in relation to the rate of infection and ensure a hygiene concept. In general, hospitals and other in-patient health care facilities were allowed to admit visitors after May 20.


Rules are less strict here, for example, than in outdoor swimming pools: one benchmark is that there needs to be 7 square meters per customer- (instead of 10) . But "any high-intensity endurance training (indoor cycling, HIIT and anaerobic threshold training) is prohibited”.


A limited number of guests, a constant minimum distance - also in the pool and showers - and the wearing of masks in closed rooms is required. Every visitor should also be registered. Guests must wash or disinfect their hands after entering the outdoor pool. Outdoor pools have been allowed to open again as of May 20. Indoor swimming pools may resume operation from May 30.


Hairdressers have been allowed to open their salons again since May 4. However, strict Corona rules also apply when visiting the hairdresser. Among other things, distances of two meters must be maintained between the individual workstations. Medical foot treatments and pedicures have been permitted again since Monday, May 4.

When it comes to services where a close distance is unpreventable, the new regulation from Sunday, May 17, requires employees to wear a special face mask "supplemented by protective goggles or a face shield". "The wearing of disposable gloves is compulsory from the beginning of the service until after washing the hair.”


By covering the mouth and nose with cloth, the risk of infecting other people with the coronavirus should be minimized. Self-sewn fabric masks or scarves and shawls pulled over the face are also permitted. The requirement has been in force since April 27 in buses and trains, in all shops and showrooms, at weekly markets, in shopping centers, at bus stops and train stations, in taxis, doctors' offices and similar health care facilities, at the post office, in banks and at gas stations. A mask must also be worn when picking up food and drinks in catering establishments.


Children have been allowed to go to the playgrounds again since May 7 - at the same time the fourth-graders went back to school. According to the Corona Protection Ordinance, the accompanying persons in the playgrounds must keep a minimum distance of 1.5 meters from each other.


The state government has now decided that day-care centers and kindergartens (KITAS) may open again for all children as of June 8. But the hours of childcare will be reduced: Those who previously had about 45 hours of care (per week) will now have 35 hours. The day care fees, which were already waived for April and May, only have to be paid at a half rate for June and July.


Irrespective of their size, shops have been allowed to reopen since May 11, subject to distance and hygiene regulations (one person per ten square meters of sales space).


"Retail food stores, weekly markets, pick-up and delivery services and wholesale stores are allowed to be open from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays and public holidays, in addition to the existing legal hours" the TDM Regulation states. Pharmacies may generally open on Sundays and public holidays.


Religious services are allowed again in NRW, with strict safety concepts in place and a limited number of participants.


Driving schools may continue to offer their services subject to safety precautions and minimum distances. During practical driving lessons, the minimum distance of 1.5 meters between persons cannot and need not be observed.


Anyone who "intentionally or negligently" violates essential requirements of the Corona Protection Ordinance and organizes an impermissible event or takes part in such events or gatherings can 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. Accordingly, it is an offense to deliberately or negligently pay unauthorized visits to health care facilities, operate facilities that do not meet the required standards of hygiene, minimum distances and access regulations, offer or provide overnight accommodation for tourists, or grill in a public space. The Corona Protection Ordinance, the current version of which is valid until June 15, lists a total of 42 possible violations.

(Orig. text: ga.de (with material from dpa)Translation: ck)