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HEALTH

‘People love it’: Toilet paper cakes fly off the shelves at Dortmund bakery

The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in panicked shoppers across Germany and beyond searching for toilet paper. But a Dortmund baker has proved cakes shaped like bog roll are just as popular.

'People love it': Toilet paper cakes fly off the shelves at Dortmund bakery
An employee at the Schürener Backparadies in Dortmund with the toilet paper cakes. Photo: DPA

Empty shelves with no toilet paper are not an uncommon sight in supermarkets during the coronavirus crisis as worried shoppers buy up the essential household item.

It prompted one Dortmund bakery to poke fun at the Hamsterkäufe (panic buying) and cheer up customers by producing a cake shaped like a toilet roll. 

READ ALSO: German word of the day: Der Hamsterkauf

However, they have become so popular that the Schürener Backparadies, run by Tim Kortüm, is continuing to produce them. The cakes are even helping to keep the business afloat during this tough time.

“We've had to stop doing a lot of things here,” Kortüm said. “No more wedding cakes, no more sandwiches for events. That's when the idea with the toilet paper cake came up,” said the owner of a bakery and pastry shop in the Schüren district of Dortmund.

At first it was just a joke. But the round marble cake, which is wrapped in white fondant and looks very much like a roll of toilet paper, immediately sold like hot cakes.

“The first eight were gone in a few minutes,” the 36-year-old said.

He now produces 200 “rolls” per day.

“That can't completely offset our losses,” said Kortüm  “But at least my employees in the bakery are busy again.”

He employs 40 people who, like many others, have been worried about their jobs since the coronavirus outbreak started.

Kortüm, who also advertises his creations on Instagram and Facebook, said he was initially a little worried about whipping up a shitstorm when he introduced the toilet paper cake on the Internet. “But for the most part, people think it's just cool and they love our idea,” he said.

The bakery has also started creating cakes modelled on the face mask emoji.

Toilet paper has become an emblem of corona times. Germany, like many European countries, has seen demand for the “white gold” spiral since the start of the outbreak.

As we reported earlier this week a German online calculator has even been set up so curious users can work out how long their stockpile will last.

Graph translated for The Local by Statista.

READ ALSO: What's the latest on coronavirus in Germany and what do I need to know?

Videos of scuffles in supermarkets have been circulating widely on social media – one argument over toilet paper in a supermarket in Mannheim last week even ended in a fistfight that required police intervention.

Chancellor Angela Merkel set a better example when she was photographed doing her weekly shop last Friday with just one pack of toilet paper in her trolley – and four bottles of wine.

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HEALTH

EXPLAINED: The new rules around getting a sick note over the phone in Germany

Due to high Covid infection numbers throughout the summer, it’s now possible to get a sick note from a doctor over the phone again for some illnesses. Here’s what you need to know.

EXPLAINED: The new rules around getting a sick note over the phone in Germany

What’s happened?

In spring 2020, German authorities changed the law so that people with a mild upper respiratory tract illness, such as the common cold, were able to get an incapacity to work certificate or AU-Bescheinigung by simply calling and speaking to their GP.

The rule was extended several times and finally reversed on June 1st this year due to falling infection figures. Since then people have had to go back to the practice – or do a video call if the doctor’s office has that system in place – to get a sick note.

Now, due to a decision by the Joint Federal Committee, the regulation has been reintroduced and patients can call their GP again for a sick note.

Can I get a sick note over the phone for any illness?

No. As before, the regulation only applies to patients suffering from a mild upper respiratory tract illness. Though Covid has not explicitly been named in the announcement, it seems that it is intended to be covered by the regulation.

If the doctor is convinced that the patient is unfit for work after a telephone consultation, then they can issue a sick note for up to seven days.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: The changes around doctor’s notes in Germany you should know

If the symptoms persist after seven days, the certificate can be extended once more for another week.

Why now?

According to the Chairman of the G-BA, Josef Hecken, the regulation has been introduced now as a response to rising Covid numbers and in anticipation of the cold and flu season in the coming months: “We want to avoid full waiting rooms in doctors’ offices and the emergence of new infection chains,” he said.

The telephone sick leave rule is a simple, proven and uniform nationwide solution for that, he said. The rule is also necessary because video consultation hours are not yet available everywhere.

What else should I know?

The health insurer DAK is calling for telephone sick leave in the case of light respiratory diseases to be made possible on a permanent basis in Germany. DAK’s CEO Andreas Storm said that this should “not always be up for debate, because it has proven itself.” 

READ ALSO: Everything you need to know about making a doctor’s appointment in Germany

The social association VdK also welcomed the reintroduction of the rule. The VdK’s President Verena Bentele said that the regulation would help to protect high-risk groups in particular from potential infections.

What are the rules to know about sick notes in Germany?

Germany has a strict system in place. If you are sick, you need to give your employer a Krankmeldung (notification of sickness) before the start of work on the first day (of your illness).

However, you also need to hand in a Krankschreibung (doctor’s note) on the fourth day of your illness. Some employments contracts, however, require you to submit a sick not earlier than the fourth day so check with your boss or HR on that point. 

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