Germans to be fined up to 500 euros for breaking distancing rules

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Apr 03 2020 05:41 PM

People spend their time outside at the Roemerberg in Frankfurt, Germany, April 2, 2020, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues. Kai Pfaffenbach, Reuters

BERLIN - Germans risk being fined up to 500 euros (P27,000) for standing too close to each other starting 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 2 people are banned and a distance of at least 1.5 meters (5 feet) 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 euros. 

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

Hesse, home to finance hub Frankfurt, and North Rhine-Westphalia both promised penalties of up to 200 euros for people who gather in groups of more than 2.

Bavaria, Germany's largest state, has been the worst affected by the coronavirus so far, with more than 18,000 cases.

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

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.

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

Germany has recorded over 79,000 cases of the novel coronavirus, according to the Robert Koch Institute for disease control.

A total of 1,017 people have died.