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CORONA VIRUS IN NEUSS​

Updated April 7 2021

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As is the case across the globe, life in Germany has been heavily impacted by the Corona virus known as SARS-CoV-2 or Covid19. While society is going through many stages of the pandemic, the Office of Economic Development is informing the business community and beyond.

Several phone numbers are available for enquiries:

  • Immediate assistance for companies +49 208 300 0439
  • CoronaCare shopping support for elderly and impaired +49 2131 909 050
  • City closures, times of opening and appointments +49 2131 909 090
  • Concerning full or part time schools and kindergardens +49 2131 909 080
  • For all medical concerns +49 2181 601 7777

Latest information relevant to Neuss will be published here as it becomes available from the Office of Economic Development or the Press Office. Validity of links and content lie within their area of responsibility.

April 7

The state of NRW has updated the Corona Protection Ordinance. The new version applies as of today. As a result of the amendment, the “relaxation” of the current restrictions is moving further away: Until now, the lifting of the “emergency brake” was foreseen if the “7-day incidence” fell below the limit of 100 on three consecutive days. In view of the lack of meaningful change of this indicator due to the partially restricted testing and reporting processes over the days of Easter, from now on seven days with a “7-day incidence” below 100 and a stable trend are still required.

For Neuss, this does not have any practical effects at first. Yesterday, at 96.3, the “7-day incidence” fell below 100 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants for the first time. Today, however, the value of 101.4 is again just above the limit. The daily 7-day incidence for Neuss is available here. Thus, in Neuss, the presentation of a daily updated rapid test remains necessary for numerous activities, including appointment shopping for goods that are not part of daily needs and body-related services except hairdressers and chiropody.

Contact tracing remains an essential tool for breaking chains of infection during the Corona pandemic. Traditionally, public health officials ask infected persons about their contacts in the days before the infection was detected. This questioning does not help in areas of life with “anonymous encounters”. For this reason, restaurateurs have already been obliged to record the contact details of their guests when they opened in May 2020. Comparable regulations apply today to appointment shopping known as “click & meet” in retail stores and the use of services where the minimum distance cannot be kept, so-called “body-related services”.

As we already reported in the last business newsletter, the city of Neuss has campaigned to replace the “paperwork” associated with contact tracking for operators and guests with an “app-based” digital recording of customer data with an interface to the health department. With the “Luca App”, this paperless option is now available throughout the area of the Rhine District of Neuss. Tradespeople can now register to use the app. All information is available on the operator’s website.

April 3

As announced yesterday, the Rhine District of Neuss has decided on the so-called “test option”. The consequence of the general order published yesterday by the district is that the opening steps or “relaxations” in force since March 8 remain in force in the district despite the continued exceeding of the limit of 100 cases in the “7-day incidence”. However, as of next Tuesday, affected services may only be made available to people who have a confirmed rapid or self-test that is updated on a daily basis. Of course, the test must be “negative” in regard to the detection of the infection. Thus, in Neuss from next Tuesday, in addition to the use of libraries, museums and art exhibitions, etc., in particular “Click & Meet” in shops as well as the use of “body-related services” with a test will remain possible.

The legal situation regarding operating restrictions is not very clear. There are establishments that must remain completely closed and those that are allowed to open almost normally. In between, there are establishments that are subject to a multitude of special regulations, which can also change depending on the incidence. This does not happen automatically when the limit value is reached or exceeded, but depends on decrees issued by the state and the Rhein-Kreis Neuss. We have therefore fundamentally revised the corresponding section on our homepage, where you will find the new presentation.

April 2

In the district of Neuss, the so-called “emergency brake” will intervene from Tuesday after Easter, April 6. This is the result of the general decree of the state of NRW from 1 April 2021. On Thursday, the so-called “7-day incidence” in the regional district had been above the value of 100 for the third day in a row.

The district of Neuss has declared that it will make use of the so-called test option, as stated in the press release of April 1 2021. Accordingly, as of Tuesday, will be possible  to utilise and partake of many offers or activities upon presentation of a daily updated quick test. In spite of the emergency brake. We will inform you about the details as soon as the wording of the district’s decision is available.

Until Monday inclusive, the previous regulations will apply. This means that, for example, “click & meet” appointment shopping is still permitted in shops on Holy Saturday without the presentation of a test result. The same applies to crafts and services, where a distance of 1.5 m between the craftsperson or service provider and the customer cannot be maintained. You can read the rules applicable to the individual sectors up to and including Monday on the homepage.

Performing a rapid antigen test prior to potentially infectious contacts is of course also useful regardless of whether the presentation of the test is required by law or by the authorities for the use of an offer or service. A list of providers who carry out free rapid antigen tests in Neuss can be found on the website.

March 26

The state of North Rhine-Westphalia has, surprisingly, decided against the announced state-wide “emergency brake”. This means that there will be no nationwide rollback of the relaxation measures implemented at the beginning of March in NRW. Thus, there will be no tightening in Neuss at the beginning of next week.

The “emergency brake” will be applied if the so-called “7-day incidence” (number of new infections within seven days per 100,000 inhabitants) in a district or city exceeds 100 for three days in a row. But even then, the emergency brake does not come into effect immediately or automatically. Rather, it requires a determination of the intervention of the restrictions by the responsible health ministry of the state. The ministry also announces the date from which the restrictions apply. As a rule, it can be assumed that they will come into force on the second working day following the third day with an incidence above 100. The restrictions are lifted when the incidence falls below 100 for three consecutive days.

The figures published daily by the North Rhine-Westphalia State Centre for Health are authoritative, which can be found on their website.

In the Rhine district of Neuss, the 7-day incidence of laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases has been below 100 again for a few days. Even in the event of a very unfavourable development, there is therefore no reason to worry about a tightening of the current regulations before the middle of the week.

The regulation, which is valid as of Monday, provides that exceptions from the restrictions are possible despite exceeding the values if area-wide testing strategies are used. Corresponding regulations require coordination with the Ministry of Health. We will keep you informed about this.

March 22

The Ministry of Labour, Health and Social Affairs of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia announces that there will be no changes in the Corona Protection Ordinance for possible openings, for example in outdoor catering, until the decisions of the Conference of Minister Presidents on Monday, 22 March 2021.

Due to the ongoing lock-down, gastronomy businesses have not yet had the opportunity to provide their guests with the tents or windbreaks purchased through the City of Neuss’ grant programme for winter-proof outdoor gastronomy. The City of Neuss would like to continue to support its gastronomy during the period after opening. Consequently, the Neuss City Council has extended the previous subsidy programme to the coming winter season 2021/2022.

Neuss restaurateurs now again have the opportunity to apply for subsidies. Applications can be submitted in the period from 15 March 2021 to 30 September 2021. Further information can be found on the homepage.

The Federal Government wants to provide more support to training companies during the Corona pandemic. Therefore, the Federal Cabinet decided on 17 March 2021 on further measures for the federal programme “Securing Training Places”. A doubling of the training premium for companies is planned, so that in future up to € 6,000 per training place can be provided. In addition, companies with up to 499 employees are to receive the trainee bonus in the future. The limit is currently 249 employees. The take-over bonus is also to be extended until the end of 2021 and doubled to € 6,000. You will receive further information via our Corona Aid update as soon as the Bundestag has also passed the package of measures.

March 11

Due to suspicious cases in which applicants are said to have gained unlawful access to state aid funds, the criminal investigation authorities have been informed. In the course of the investigations, the payments on account are being examined and therefore stopped at short notice. The disbursements of the Bridging Assistance II as well as the November and December assistance and the New Start Assistance are not to be affected by this short-term stop of disbursements. Further information is available on the federal government’s funding platform.

The application deadlines for the Bridging Assistance III and for the New Start Assistance have been extended again. These aids can now be applied for until 31 August 2021. The new start-up aid is aimed at solo self-employed persons who were affected by the consequences of the Corona pandemic in the funding period from 1 January to 30 June 2021. The financial grant of up to €7,500 can be applied for directly via the funding platform. Solo self-employed persons with employees, freelancers as well as companies from all sectors can make use of the Bridging Assistance III, which offers a financial subsidy depending on the decline in turnover and fixed operating costs. The aid is applied for through an auditing third party such as a tax advisor.

March 8

In our last Corona Help update, we already referred to the new Corona Protection Ordinance of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, which has been in force since 8 March, and announced that we would also be compiling the associated innovations for “Trade & Services” for you on our homepage.

In addition to the news on trade, you will now find detailed information on crafts and services under the heading “Regulations for businesses“. Body-related services such as facials/cosmetics, nail studios/manicures, massages, tattooing and piercing are now permitted again under strict conditions. You can find more information on the homepage.

March 6

With the new Corona Protection Ordinance, which will come into force on Monday, the state of North Rhine-Westphalia is implementing two further opening steps of the phased plan agreed between the federal and state governments. We present these in the “Regulations for companies” section of our special “Corona assistance” pages on the homepage.

The “relaxations” affecting the retail trade with the opening of certain businesses, especially bookshops, stationery shops and flower shops/garden markets as well as the introduction of appointment shopping such as Click & Meet are summarised in a separate section. Detailed descriptions of the innovations for trade and services as well as for educational institutions will follow shortly.

February 15

The Corona Protection Ordinance, which has been in force in NRW since 14 February, extends the previous lockdown regulations until 21 February 2021 for the time being. A concretisation was made regarding the wearing of the mask. Thus, masks must now also be worn on the access routes to shops within 10 metres of the entrance. The valid regulation can be viewed here.

The decision of the federal-state conference last Wednesday provides for the lockdown to be extended until 7 March. There is to be an exception for hairdressers. These are to be allowed to reopen as early as 1 March, subject to conditions on hygiene, access control with reservation and the use of medical masks. Changes to the regulation as of 22 February are therefore expected and will be announced here.

The bridging grants, which provide financial support to all businesses regardless of sector and legal form, can now be applied for online for the funding period starting in January 2021. Companies with a decline in turnover of at least 30% will receive a non-repayable grant towards their fixed operating costs. The application is submitted via an auditing third party such as a tax advisor. Further information is available on our homepage and on the federal funding platform.

January 26

The Corona Protection Ordinance renewed by the state of NRW, which has been in effect since the beginning of this week, extends the lockdown until February 14 2021. In addition, the obligation to wear medical masks, FFP2 masks or comparable masks such as those with the identifier KN95/ N95 in commercial establishments, during passenger transport and when providing medical services applies. Everyday masks are no longer permitted in these establishments or activities. The valid regulation can be viewed on the web.

Until March 15, additional special occupational health and safety measures to protect workers from the corona virus and its rapid spread will apply when the new “Corona” Occupational Health and Safety Ordinance comes into force on January 27 2021. You can view the promulgated regulation on the web. For example, employers are obliged to allow their employees to work from home, provided there are no compelling operational reasons against this. Stricter requirements also apply to working at the workplace. At least 10 m² must be available per person. Companies with ten or more employees must divide them into small, fixed work groups. In addition, if the distances are not observed, a mouth-nose protection in the form of a medical mask or an FFP2 mask or comparable respirator must be worn, which is provided by the employer. Further information is available on the homepage. You can find a FAQ on the website of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs.

January 8

The state of North Rhine-Westphalia has issued a new Corona Protection Ordinance, which will be valid from January 11 2021. This extends the lockdown until January 31. This means that restaurants and cafés, retail outlets with the exception of goods for daily use and some services are still not allowed to operate. The current valid regulations can be found on the homepage. However, Click & Collect will continue to be permitted. Company canteens and refectories of educational institutions may be operated by way of exception if work processes cannot otherwise be maintained. Access is only permitted to employees or users of educational institutions.

In addition to the extension of the measures, there will be a tightening of the contact restrictions from next Monday. Persons from one household may meet with no more than one person from another household, who may be accompanied by children from their household who are to be cared for. The “15-kilometre radius rule” for regions with a 7-day incidence of more than 200 is not set in NRW in the ordinance; it is up to the respective municipalities to arrange this.

The new aid is intended to support businesses affected by the November and/or December closures or the January closures, as well as those businesses that were not affected by the closures but nevertheless suffered a drop in turnover. Companies that experienced a decline in turnover in the period April to December 2020 are also eligible to apply. The aid is to be applied for from January via a tax advisor or accountant and will run from January to June 2021. Companies that were affected by the November closures can also apply for the November and December aid. An overview of the application requirements and deadlines can be found on the homepage. Please note that the bridging aid II can still be applied for until 31 January 2021, but the application requirements are not the same as for the phase III aid.

The Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology is funding research and technology projects for the production of innovative personal protective equipment. Applications for funding can now be submitted by companies and research institutions. The funding is intended to provide new impetus and incentives for increased innovative activity along the entire value chain of protective equipment and thus strengthen production in Germany. The programme runs until 2025 and provides a total of 163 million euros in funding. Funding priorities include sustainability and recyclability, functionality and the development of new areas of demand, as well as the automation and digitalisation of production and services. The funding guidelines can be found in the Federal Gazette, Bundesanzeiger.

By Vincent Green, March 11 2021

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Footbridge over harbour

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