Coronavirus: Germans to be fined up to €500 for breaking social distancing rules

Coronavirus: Germans to be fined up to €500 for breaking social distancing rules
More supermarkets, stores and weekly markets, such as this one in Munich, are putting down tape to enforce social distancing guidelines. Photo: DPA
Germans risk being fined up to €500 for standing too close to each other from Friday as officials crack down on people flouting rules brought in to control coronavirus.

Chancellor Angela Merkel's government has ordered people not leave their homes unless they have an exceptional reason such as grocery shopping, exercise or medical appointments.

Gatherings of more than two people are banned and a distance of at least 1.5 metres must be kept from others at all times.

Local governments have the power to set fines for transgressors, with city officials in Berlin saying their fines would be as high as 500.

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Similar announcements have come from across Germany's 16 states.

Customers at a weekly market in Hamburg try to stand 1.5 metres apart. Photo: DPA

Hesse, home to finance hub Frankfurt, and North Rhine-Westphalia both promised penalties of up to 200 for people who gather in groups of more than two.

Bavaria, Germany's largest state, has been the worst affected by the coronavirus so far, with more than 20,000 cases.

There, people who stand less than 1.5 metres apart risk being fined 150.

READ ALSO: Why has Bavaria been hit so hard in the coronavirus pandemic?

 

Queues of people standing far apart have become a common sight outside German supermarkets and pharmacies, with many sticking down tape to mark where people should stand on the pavement. Security guards often stand near by to tell customers when they need to allow more space.

However, German police have also reported numerous violations of the rules.

As of Friday morning, Germany had more confirmed coronavirus cases than China, or 84,794, making it the fifth most affected country in the world, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

There have also been more than 1,100 deaths.


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  1. One thing I’ve not been totally clear about; If you are a couple – say, Husband & Wife – are they going to enforce the 1,5 meter rule on you walking together as well?

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