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Coronavirus: German couple fined €400 after eating ice cream too close to shop

A couple from the city of Würselen in North Rhine-Westphalia found earlier this week that two scoops of ice cream were a lot more expensive than expected when they inadvertently broke coronavirus restrictions.

Coronavirus: German couple fined €400 after eating ice cream too close to shop
Photo: DPA

The pair in their early thirties purchased four scoops and proceeded to sit on a bench outside the parlour amid the sunny spring weather, which rose above 20C in western Germany.

Yet a few minutes later two officers from the public order office (Ordnungsamt) came by to issue the couple a fine worth €400 – or €200 each, reported Focus Online.

Ice cream parlours have been allowed to sell scoops to customers at the counter since April 20th for takeaway only. Other restaurants and cafes around Germany have remained closed to sit-in customers since mid-March, but can also offer food to-go.

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But a distance of at least 50 metres must be maintained between customers and the parlour while they consume their grub – otherwise it can be expensive, as this case proves.

“It is possible that the couple stayed within the prohibited 50 metres of the ice cream parlour – hence the fine,” said Würselen's city spokesman Bernd Schaffrath.

The couple reportedly thought they were safe as there was no sign at the parlour warning them of the rules. But most likely they will have to foot the bill for the fine anyway.

“I find it disproportionate that there is a penalty for sitting on a bench with ice cream in my hand, but none for sitting there without ice cream,” said one of them to the editorial network Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland.

“I just don't understand rationale behind the punishment.”

“We are currently on reduced working hours (Kurzarbeit) so it's not a small matter to pay €400.”

READ ALSO: Kurzarbeit: Germany bets on tried-and-tested tool for coronavirus jobs crisis

Despite some relaxation of coronavirus rules around Germany, including allowing shops to reopen, restaurants, cafes and pubs are to remain closed to sit-in customers for the time being.

Until May 4th, there also remains a ban on more than two people who aren't part of the same household or family being outside together at once.

Vocabulary

Ice cream parlour – (die) Eisdiele
Counter – (die) Theke
Hence/therefore/thus – deshalb
The fine – (das) Bußgeld
The distance – (der) Abstand

We're aiming to help our readers improve their German by translating vocabulary from some of our news stories. Did you find this article useful? Let us know.

 

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COVID-19 RULES

Germany should prepare for Covid wave in autumn, ministers warn

German health ministers say that tougher Covid restrictions should come back into force if a serious wave emerges in autumn.

Germany should prepare for Covid wave in autumn, ministers warn

Following a video meeting on Monday, the health ministers of Germany’s 16 states said tougher restrictions should be imposed again if they are needed. 

“The corona pandemic is not over yet – we must not be deceived by the current declining incidences,” said Saxony-Anhalt’s health minister Petra Grimm-Benne, of the Social Democrats, who currently chairs the Conference of Health Ministers (GMK).

According to the GMK, new virus variants are expected to appear in autumn and winter. Over the weekend, federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) also warned that the more dangerous Delta variant could return to Germany. “That is why the federal Ministry of Health should draw up a master plan to combat the corona pandemic as soon as possible and coordinate it with the states,” Grimm-Benne said.

Preparations should also include an amendment of the Infection Protection Act, ministers urged. They want to see the states given powers to react to the infection situation in autumn and winter. They called on the government to initiate the legislative process in a timely manner, and get the states actively involved.

The current Infection Protection Act expires on September 23rd this year. Germany has loosened much of its Covid restrictions in the last months, however, face masks are still compulsory on public transport as well as on planes. 

READ ALSO: Do people in Germany still have to wear Covid masks on planes?

The health ministers said that from autumn onwards, it should be possible for states to make masks compulsory indoors if the regional infection situation calls for it. Previously, wearing a Covid mask was obligatory in Germany when shopping and in restaurants and bars when not sitting at a table. 

Furthermore, the so-called 3G rule for accessing some venues and facilities – where people have to present proof of vaccination, recovery, or a negative test – should be implemented again if needed, as well as other infection protection rules, the ministers said. 

Bavaria’s health minister Klaus Holetschek, of the CSU, welcomed the ministers’ unanimous call for a revision of the Infection Protection Act. “The states must be able to take all necessary infection protection measures quickly, effectively, and with legal certainty,” he said.

North Rhine-Westphalia’s health minister Karl-Josef Laumann (CDU) warned that no one should “lull themselves into a false sense of security”.

“We must now prepare for the colder season and use the time to be able to answer important questions about the immunity of the population or the mechanisms of infection chains,” he said.

On Tuesday, Germany reported 86,253 Covid infections within the latest 24 hour period, as well as 215 Covid-related deaths. The 7-day incidence stood at 437.6 infections per 100,000 people. However, experts believe there could be twice as many infections because lots of cases go unreported. 

READ ALSO: Five things to know about the Covid pandemic in Germany right now

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