Mask requirement: "most of them stick to the rules"

It has been mandatory to wear a mask when shopping and traveling by bus and train nationwide for almost two weeks. Do people stick to it? Out and about with inspectors from the Speyer Public Order Office.

From Lucretia Gather, SWR

Caught. Greengrocer Steffen Weiler doesn’t have his mask on. He sells vegetables, Palatinate potatoes and freshly picked strawberries from the region at the weekly market in Speyer.

Sulaymann Aruna and Matthias Doll from the municipal enforcement service have been out and about in the city since morning. The weekly market is one of your first port of call.

The two hamlets speak to you in a friendly manner. He explains that he just wanted to have a drink for a moment. "We understand that," replies Doll kindly. And refrains from imposing a fine. "We’re not monsters."

Most of them wear masks 

Her experience after more than ten days of wearing a mask: "Most people stick to it," says Doll. "And if you don’t wear a mask, there is almost always a plausible explanation."

Just like at the greengrocer Weiler. He finds the mask requirement and the controls in order. "I’m glad that I can work at all," he says, putting his self-made mask back on.

In teams of two on patrol

The Speyer Public Order Office sends two employees of the municipal enforcement service through the city every day, and checks are carried out for ten hours. For this purpose, the department responsible was rebuilt. Before Corona, Doll mainly monitored "stationary traffic", i.e. distributed tickets.

His colleague Aruna is similar: Instead of worrying about noise pollution or illegal waste disposal, he now almost only checks compliance with the corona hygiene rules.

This also includes going into stores and randomly checking whether the intervals are being adhered to and there is enough disinfectant for the customers.

Doll and Aruna stroll quietly through the city center, with the Speyer Cathedral behind them, and look into every shop from the street. "I think the rules would be implemented much worse if we didn’t control," says Aruna. His colleague nods in agreement: "It would look different without us."

In the small shops along Maximilianstrasse, one of the main shopping streets in Speyer, they have nothing to complain about today.

Only in the supermarket do they notice a young man who has pulled his mask over his mouth, but not over his nose. His reason: his glasses keep fogging up. "We often hear that from people who wear glasses," says Aruna. "The young man was insightful and friendly, that’s okay." Here, too, he waives a fine, but points out to the man that he must wear the mask correctly.

Different fines

Basically: Anyone who does not adhere to the Corona rules is committing an administrative offense and must expect a fine. The amount varies from state to state.

In Rhineland-Palatinate, for example, a violation of the mask requirement can be punished with ten euros.

Anyone who is out and about in shops or public transport in Bavaria without a mask pays more than ten times as much: 150 euros. If the staff in a shop in Bavaria does not wear a mask or the hygiene concept is incorrect, the owner can be fined 5000 euros. In Rhineland-Palatinate, however, with 2500 euros, only half.

Aruna and Doll continue walking through downtown Speyr. You want to stop by a barber shop. "Yesterday there was trouble there because too many customers were in the shop at the same time and the distances were not kept," says Doll. In addition, the owner still has the sticker "without an appointment" stuck on his window, which must go.

Today the shop is almost empty. But: A customer sits on the styling chair without a face mask. And the hairdresser who is shaving his neck is wearing a scarf that only covers his mouth.

"Mask cut through while hairdressing "

"That doesn’t work at all," Aruna reprimands him. The hairdresser explains that he accidentally cut the client’s mask while cutting his hair. In addition, it is very hot in the shop, he has to take a breath through his nose every now and then.

The two inspectors look annoyed, but calmly explain the Corona hygiene requirements to the hairdresser again. Aruna records the employee’s personal details. Its boss, the owner of the shop, now faces a fine of 2500 euros. And the employee himself could soon get mail from the regulatory office. Because he has not yet taken off the sticker "without an appointment".

Aruna and Doll record everything they watch. After her shift, her supervisor will decide whether or not to impose a fine on the barber shop owner. 

"95 percent of our job is talking," says Aruna. And moves on with his colleague. Your shift is not over yet.