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Yes to masks, no to distancing : Corona regulations not being observed

Yes to masks, no to distancing : Corona regulations not being observed

Hardly anyone in Bonn is observing the corona distancing rules. Face coverings are not being worn as often as they should be. These are the observations from the weekend.

The RE9 train from Euskirchen, currently only running as far as Witterschlick due to construction work, rolls the final few metres into Bonn's main station. Up to now, the 20 or so passengers have been sitting in the carriage wearing face masks and keeping as much distance as possible in the large compartments. But before the train comes to a stop, people begin to crowd at the door. An older lady has positioned herself directly in front of it. A young man takes his chance to quickly dodge around her when opening the door and manages to touch her arms. Even outside on platform 5 on Friday afternoon, the passengers coming in the opposite direction do not take a step to the side – it is as if the corona virus has never existed.

The distancing rule still applies. It is strictly observed at many workplaces. Only one person is allowed to sit in each office, the maximum occupancy rates in lifts are low. In canteens, such as in the Posttower, most seats are meticulously cordoned off. In everyday life in Bonn, on the other hand, the distance rule is hardly ever observed. At least for those who dare to leave the house and socialise. This is the conclusion we have come to by taking a purely subjective snapshot at various places in the city. On Friday evening, for example, when hundreds of people in the city centre's dining establishments celebrate the start of the weekend and the summer holidays with a meal. Small retailers in particular continue to keep disinfectant available at the entrance to their shops. In front of the glass door to an opticians, a young lady is using a list to check who is allowed in and who is not. Outside on Remigius- and Sternstraße, groups of people can often be seen. As dark clouds gather over the city around 7 pm, the few dry spots under sunshades and canopies are in great demand within minutes. A few drops of rain immediately destroy the will to keep at a distance.

In the restaurants themselves, the tables and chairs are spaced widely apart. The staff wear face masks. Usually there is a disinfectant dispenser at the entrance. City spokeswoman Monika Hörig explained upon request that only in four cases in the last few days has the public order office had to file reports due to insufficient distancing. In a family-run restaurant offering Mediterranean cuisine, everyone is keeping to the rules. Salt, for example, is available in disposable bags instead of shakers. But nobody asks the guests for their contact details. This would allow customers to be informed if another visitor later falls ill with COVID-19. Also in an ice-cream parlour in the city centre no contact details are requested, nor at a hairdresser. No-one from the public order office, whose employees, according to the press office, “frequently and repeatedly” check adherence to the hygiene rules in retail and hospitality, is to be seen - at least during the observation period.

On Saturday morning its time to go to the gym and work off the calories from the day before. At the entrance there is disinfectant in a bottle that cannot be operated with the elbow, the same can be found in the main area together with some paper towels to wipe down handles. The windows are wide open. Some of the equipment has been put away to create more space. In the narrow staircase and in the changing rooms people are still close to one other. Here, nobody waits until the oncoming person has passed by. Even the showers are open again. Some regular guests blatantly greet each other with a handshake and a friendly grab on the shoulder. Nobody is wearing a mask except the staff.

Taking the tram back into the city, a woman in her twenties is watching a video on her smartphone. She does not have a face covering. When questioned, she laboriously removes the headphones from her ears. "I don’t have one", she says tersely and continues watching her film. On the underground platforms at the main station, at most every second person is wearing a face covering. Many have pulled them down so that their noses are not covered. Even a couple with a son is waiting for the train without masks. “We have some with us”, says the father, a little embarrassed, “but we’ll put them on when we’re on the train”.

(Original text: Martin Wein, Translation: Caroline Kusch)